Do the Things You Have to Do

I watched as my son reluctantly pulled the homework out of his backpack. There were so many other things he wanted to do after a long day of school. Instead of winding down or playing outside before the sun set, he was digging into more math and grammar problems. He didn’t want to do it, but he knew he must.

What must be done

I only partially learned this lesson in school and my grades reflected it. The lesson hit its mark in the Army. You do what you must, or you pay the price. In this case, the price was paid in full through pain. And as John Patrick said, “Pain makes man think. Thought makes man wise. Wisdom makes life endurable.” [Read: Feel the Pain, Make the Change]

Unfortunately, back then, doing what I must only extended to my professional life. I didn’t have the discipline or the courage to extend it to my personal life. As a result, I suffered. The pain I felt was dull, and therefore, I continued to do what I wanted rather than what I should have done.

Education through pain and experience

Professors Pain and Experience may have been my two greatest teachers. Early on, they were instrumental in my education. It was through pain that I learned the consequences of getting burned, to identify what was toxic if I ate it, and what will hit me if I upset it. Pain taught me how to survive. Experience, how to thrive. In time, they tutored me on how to bridge the gap between the personal and professional. Without them, I would be dead. But with them, I learned how to live.

The most valuable of all education is the ability to make yourself do the thing you have to do when it has to be done, whether you like it or not.

Aldous Huxley

Is our traditional education system broken? Some would think so. Yet, there is still value in it if we learn from Huxley’s words. Learn to do what you must, whether you like it or not. But consider the things you must do. Weigh them carefully. Is it that which you must do for yourself, or is it that which someone else thinks you must do for your own good? There is a big difference.


Feature photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

Choose to Overcome

Faith 10/4/2019

Here is a message for everybody. Everybody. We all have the ability to improve. All we have to do is make the choice. We get to choose to become better.

It is because of this reason that I have come to love listening to podcasts. Last week I listened to Ed Mylett interview Terrell Owens. I remember watching the Hall of Fame receiver, but I never heard of the struggles he had growing up. He didn’t grow up in the best of situation, yet he made the choice to not let it hold him back from realizing his potential. He chose to improve himself and that choice combined with a top-notch work ethic resulted in him being one of the greatest receivers of all time.

Earlier this week I attended a dinner party and had the opportunity to speak with a celebrity chef. Much like Terrell Owens, he too discussed his tragic childhood. I listened in awe as he described the environment in which he grew up. Yet despite the cards being stacked against him, he became a well-respected chef. And then, at the age of 30, he had a stroke. A stroke at 30. When I heard that, I asked him a simple question, “Did it give you a greater appreciation for life?” His answer was a resounding yes. Now at the age of 32, he has lost about forty pounds. He manages his stress. Instead of becoming a victim, he chose to be victorious.

There is only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that’s your own self. –Aldous Huxley

The pessimists out there will not like your odds. They will say your chances of success are slim if not non-existent. Don’t let them be right. Defy the odds and realize that you have the ability within yourself to become better. It won’t be easy, and that is fine. Don’t let your environment define who you are. Don’t let your past get in the way of your future. Start with making the choice, and then work your tail off to make it happen.