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

Real World Knowledge

Justice 8/7/2019

This week I have been listening to Jocko Podcast #183 with Jack Carr. Jack Carr is a retired Navy Seal and author. As the son of a librarian, he acquired a love for books and learning at an early age. Mix that with his pedigree in the Navy, and you find yourself with an author who has a wealth of knowledge at his disposal.

The knowledge of the world is only to be acquired in the world, and not in a closet. -Lord Chesterfield

There are some that would teach based solely on theory. And then there are others that instruct from the hard lessons they have learned in the real world.

Whose works would you rather read? Who would you trust as your mentor?

And when it comes to influencing others, who would you rather be: the academic or the veteran?

Grow in Confidence Through Experience

As a gymnast, Alec, is confident and daring. He doesn’t give a second thought to trying new tricks, because he knows based on previous experience, that he can eventually master them. At the age of six, he is the youngest and smallest Level 2 gymnast in his developmental class.

As a wrestler, Alec, is completely different. His years practicing gymnastics has given him an edge in strength and coordination, but he is lacking confidence. Even as he begins his second season in wrestling, he is still an only child getting used to an aggressive sport that puts a whole different type of stress on his body.

I want him to be more aggressive as a wrestler. I want him to know that not everything has to hurt. But as much as I want him to progress quickly as a wrestler, I also have to realize that it takes time. And for Alec, it takes experience. The more he practices and the more experience he gains, the greater his confidence will grow.

It is easy for us to have confidence that we will exceed in whatever endeavors we pursue. Why start them if we don’t think we can complete them? The greater your confidence in your own abilities, the greater the chances that you will succeed. But where does this faith in your abilities come from? It comes from experience. It comes from practice. Through work we can lay the foundation that will give our faith the chance to flourish. As the apostle James said, “Faith without works is dead.”  (James 2:26)

Your chances of success in any undertaking can always be measured by your belief in yourself. –Robert Collier