The other day I was reminded of a quote I had heard recently. “A SMART man learns from his mistakes, but a WISE man learns from the mistakes of others.” I was sharing how I felt that every single person on this earth has endured their own “suffering” of some sort, and every one of us have different stories of overcoming different types of adversities and obstacles in our lives, big and small. This week I also came across a very unique statistic, now I have no idea the source of these numbers but the point behind it was like a giant slap to the face. It read as follows:
– The average person lies 4 times a day or 1,460 times a year; a total of 87,600 times by the age of 60. And the most common lie in the world is: “I’M FINE.”
Wow did that resonate with me, it brought me back to so many of the things I wrote about in the beginning of this blog. I had for years been brought up in a school of thought that I should always “ACT AS IF” and “FAKE IT TILL YOU MAKE IT.” It is very common for men especially today in the world we live in to always act tough and in control, and never be vulnerable or show emotion. They way this manifested in my life is that every time someone asked me how I was doing for years and years my response was always some extremely positive statement like “I’m fantastic!”, “Doing amazing thanks!”, “Phenomenal how are you?!”, or maybe even something funnier like “If I was any better I’d be twins!”
Now replying to such a common question we get in life with such an overly positive statement like that I will admit can definitely over time have a good impact on ourselves, and they most certainly can and will positively impact the person who is the receiver of the response. However it poses the question, does giving answers like that really exemplify us living with full authenticity and transparency? I know there have been plenty days in my life when I was asked how I was doing even though I responded with a positive statement like above, my real, honest and truthful response would’ve been something like, “Honestly I’m having a really bad day and in the middle of one of the most challenging times of my life.”
Now nobody wants to be a Debbie Downer here, but my point is that we all have challenges, we all suffer though adversity and we all have to find ways and means to move forward despite these obstacles in our lives. What I came to realize is that when I got out of my own way, crucified my ego and allowed myself to be truly open and transparent with people and share with them the challenges and adversity I was facing in my life everything changed. I realized that it gave them an opportunity to help, encourage and support me, however it was also a major source of inspiration to others! The picture at the top of this post is something I know so very well to be true, we should NEVER BE ASHAMED OF OUR STORIES, THEY WILL DEFINITELY INSPIRE OTHERS.
So what kind of MESS are you experiencing in your life? What kind of mistakes have you made that you sure wish that someone else would’ve advised you of ahead of time and steered you away from? If life is like navigating a live mine field, wouldn’t it make sense to find someone who’s already made it safely through and let them guide you where to step so you don’t get blown to pieces? As the quote stated at the beginning yes it is smart to learn from one’s own mistakes, but it is smarter to learn from the mistakes of others. I can promise that if you have the courage to open up to others in your life, if you can be willing to be vulnerable and share yourself, this is not something people will shirk away from but something true friends will gravitate towards and embrace. Not only that, they will in turn feel more comfortable with you, trust you more and as a result open up to you. Your relationships will deepen and you will start to truly understand what is it to fellowship with your brothers and sisters in life.
The Bible has many great verses on fellowship, here’s a few to ponder:
“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:11
“Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” – Proverbs 27:17
“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” – Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
The amount of scripture that talks about this is virtually endless, but you get the point. We are all called to LOVE one another, to HELP one another and to FELLOWSHIP with one another. I challenge you all to turn your MESS into your MESSAGE; you have no idea how much of an impact the way you are handling your different trials in life are positively impacting the people around you. I challenge you to open up in a new way to your family and friends, be OPEN, be AUTHENTIC and be TRANSPARENT. When you do so you give others the permission to do the same. Most importantly while you are in the heat of your challenge, your adversity or whatever it is causing you pain and suffering, remember that the way you conduct yourself and the way you persevere will not only mean everything to you and your future, but potentially to the lives of countless others. Let us all learn more from each other, by getting closer to one another, and let us all share more of ourselves with others so they too can benefit from the lessons we ourselves have learned. Also remember this:
When you are going through a difficulty in life and wonder where God is, remember the teacher is always quiet during the test.
Anytime you turn away from yourself and look toward the greater good and how you can help others, it will make what you are doing easier. Selflessness is the oil that lubricates the stiff and rusty hinges of life. And one more thing, if you feel you can’t endure your mess by yourself, ask God for help, sometimes he allows us to hit rock bottom so we finally will look back up. God Bless.
Jason Matthew Herrington is an enterpreneur, writer and personal and spiritual development coach in Santa Barbara, California. He operates a blog and project called Elevate 2 Great, which seeks to show people how to Step up to their personal greatness, change their life and change the world. He has 4 year old son and behind his love for God and is son is his love for helping, inspiring, encouraging and lifting up others!
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