This I Believe

Tyson - Rexburg, Idaho
Entered on January 20, 2009

“I believe if I don’t do things now that I’ll regret later, I’ll never have any of those cool stories to tell my kids that include the phrase “… something I am no longer proud of…”

Of all the sayings I’ve created for myself to better motivate my life, I believe and stand by this one most. When I say I’ll never have ‘cool stories to tell my kids that include the phrase “… something I am no longer proud of…”, I mean I wouldn’t have lessons I’ve learned that I can pass on to my kids. I believe the lessons best learned come from experience, learning things the hard way, and growing from your mistakes. If there was ever anything my parents taught me that I still take with me, it’s the stories they’ve told me about the mistakes that they made and learned from.

Because I’ve seen the effects of those choices first hand, whether by personal experience or a loved one’s experience, I can more effectively make better choices in my life. It’s like this: you never really know not to play with fire until you’ve been burned once or twice. If my parents told me not to play with fire, I probably wouldn’t listen and do it anyway. But because I was burned at a young age, the memory of the pain, like the fire itself, burned into my mind and, ultimately, my common sense.

Another effective way for me to learn is by 3rd party experience. When I say this, I’m referring to the most effective way that important lessons are passed from my parents to me; by telling me stories that they’d experienced first hand. As hard as it is for me to believe sometimes, apparently they were teenagers at one point, and they too had the stereotypical habit of getting into trouble. Well from all those years of being a teen came many experiences, stories, and many lessons learned. Knowing somebody personally who had suffered the consequences of their actions helps me to steer away from those actions.

But there have been times where I’ve run into situations that my parents had not, in which case I had to learn the lesson. And because of the unique way I learn, I had to learn it from experience, or ‘the hard way.’

When faced with a choice, the choice goes through two questions in my mind to filter out the ‘bad’ ideas (remember that ‘bad’ for me and ‘bad’ for someone else isn’t the same definition). First I ask myself “is it worth the risk?” If it is then the choice stops there and I go out and do it. But if it isn’t worth the risk, the choice passes to the second question: “Can I live with the Consequences?”

I am a strong believer of learning things the hard way, because experience leaves a bigger impression in your mind than direction from your parents or friends.