Many people can point to life changing moments in their lives. I’m no exception. Here are ten that come to mind.
- When I decided to put square pegs in square holes.It’s not hard to defend some principle or practice about which you have strong feelings, even if they are not popular in the public eye. But, when you have to defend something you don’t feel comfortable about, with logic you know is faulty, you can become bogged down with anxiety.That happened with me. So one day, I simply said to myself, “I’m done trying to put square pegs in round holes, for now on out, it’s square pegs in square holes.” A lot of personal conflict cleared up.
- When I received surprised benefits for work.My parents didn’t pay me for mowing the lawn, but I mowed it anyway. One day a professional gardener came up to me and offered me a job helping him take care of lawns throughout the city. It came as a complete surprise.I was in ninth grade at the time, and this experience set the tone for the rest of my working days. If we’re doing the work, good things happen, many times as a pleasant surprise.
- When I decided to face my disappointments.I’ve had a lot of victories in my life. But, I’ve also had my share of disappointments. Most of my life I’ve tried to cover up my disappointments. One day I decided to face things that seemed too painful to accept.In doing so, I found I didn’t wither. There seemed to be a strengthening of personal confidence and acceptance of myself. Integration I think it is called.
- When I recognized the impact of love.One night I listened to a career politician being interviewed. He was candid and personal. He said that it was during his third marriage that he was moved by how important it was to be loved by someone.I agree. When ambitious people get off the stage, it is lonely. If the loneliness is offset by a relationship of love, it becomes more important than being on stage.
- When I realized that when I’m explaining I’m losing.One night when I was two hours late getting home from a date, I tried to explain why I was so late. My mother put her hand up and said, “Cut it. Roger, when you’re explaining you’re losing.”That has become a litmus test I use in all my personal and professional relationships. When someone is trying to explain their action, that usually only creates more questions. More questions usually lead to more contradictions.
Watch Judge Judy and you’ll see what I mean.
- When I started taking clear positions.With the exception of complaining about life in general, most people are pretty neutral in their lives. That’s why when someone takes a position and puts action behind the position, life tends to form around that position.It doesn’t matter whether the position taken is right or wrong, only that you have taken a position and follow it up with action. The environment conforms to the position.
- When I realized that when I make a mistake I need to admit it.I’ve made my living being in front of people. I’m challenged all the time with questions. I do my best to answer them. At times I’m wrong. I’ve found the best way to handle that is to quickly admit it and get on to the next point.Embarrassment comes not from being wrong, but from trying to defend a wrong position.
- When I realized I have experienced a bit of grace.There have been moments in my life where I have been confronted with challenges for which there seemed to be no solution. And from nowhere, an answer or solution would appear.I have ceased trying to fully explain how such things can occur. The best answer I can come up with is simply, “I’ve been touched by a bit of grace.”
- When I realized that I will enjoy what I can control and forget the rest.When I was growing up, I was somewhat of a control freak. I was happy so long as I could control things. As I grew older, I found that I controlled less and less. As this happened, I became more and more anxious.Then I realized that’s how life really works. Most of life, outside of ourselves, can’t or shouldn’t be controlled. So you do the best you can with what you have, and not worry about the rest.
I started having more fun.
- When I realized there’s more opinion than truth in life.Nothing is true all the time. Nothing is true even most of the time.Most everything we utter is opinion. Nothing wrong with that, if those hearing our opinions know they are mere opinions.
When speaking to any group, religious, political, or social; young, old or in between, I have learned to say: “In my humble opinion . . .”
I think that makes the world a more civil place.