The best Teacher- Leonard Lebere
There is a great reality to pain. The funny thing about it is that when you are experiencing it, it sometimes feels like the end of the world, but when we look back we say, “It was not that bad.” By writing this blog I wanted to share about how pain is not the worst thing that can happen to us. The only question is, like athletes, how do we turn pain into gain?
A month ago my dad passed away and it was the bitterest feeling in this universe, words can’t explain how that experience affected me over the past few weeks. When I heard the news over the phone, reality pulled a slow motion stunt on me: I couldn’t think clearly, pay attention long or even do things I would consider routine like time management, running or even reading. As painful as that experience was, even from the support I got from friends and family, I couldn’t help but realise that good management of a bad experience leads to growth! This is one of the things I have always told myself in tough times,
“Only a good management of a bad experience leads to growth.”
This blog is not limited to my dad’s passing but I have had some great achievements and diamond-deep failures over the past few years. I can’t help but think of John McDonnell who said,
“Every problem introduces a person to himself.”
In 2016 while doing my first year as a first generation university student, a lot did not go my way and it was difficult navigating through all those challenges with the great need of focusing on my academics. I did a lot to avoid the reality I was faced with, from over-committing to student associations to starting a lot of projects I would not have the desire to finish off. Pascal, Pensées observed,
“I have often said that the sole cause of man’s unhappiness is that he does not know how to stay quietly in his room… What people want is not the easy peaceful life that allows us to think about hour unhappy condition, nor the dangers of war, nor the burdens of the office, but the agitation that takes our mind off it and diverts us. That is why we prefer the hunt to the capture. That is why men are so fond of hustle and bustle; that is why prison is such a fearful punishment; that is why the pleasures of solitude are incomprehensible.”
If you don’t understand what that means, I challenge you to read it again and again. The reality of it is that as human beings we will do anything that takes our eyes off the reality before us. It’s not that we don’t care, we just don’t enjoy thinking about it.
The real differences between people who thrive and people who survive is in how they deal with their problems and challenges. By writing this blog, I’m definitely not trying be insensitive to pain many have felt; we always have to find something positive in the tragedy that we face. Cheryl McGuinnes, who lost her husband in the 9/11 attacks that struck America, wrote a book a few years later reflecting on how that event impacted her entire life. She wrote,
“As unfair, unreasonable, and impossible as it seems, we still have work to do after a tragedy occurs. We still have roles to fill. We still have responsibilities to family and others. The stuff of life may pause for a while, but it doesn’t stop. Fair or not, that is reality.”
What I like about Cheryl is that she allowed her loss to become the gain of others, it was a bold step to write the book Beyond the Ashes reflecting on that experience. As people we don’t love problems and challenges, but at times our greatest gains can come from our pain.
The thing about pain is that everyone experiences it.
“Expecting the world to treat you fairly just because you are a good person is a little like expecting the bull not to charge you because you are vegetarian.”
Dennis Wholey. We don’t really like painful experiences and few people make bad experiences positive lessons. A bad experience will either make us better or bitter.
While reading the 15 Laws of Invaluable Growth, I came across a common misconceptions among us as millennials. Frank Hughes said,
“Experience isn’t really the best teacher but it sure does serve as the best excuse for not trying to do the same silly thing again.”
Experience can only be the best teacher when take time to reflect on it and allow those lessons to turn into insights. I guess sometimes we just need to allow our discomfort to be a catalyst for growth.
“Life is not the way it’s supposed to be. It’s the way it is. The way you cope with it is the difference.” Virginia Satir.
What I really wanted to point out in this blog is that facing difficulties is inevitable, learning from them is optional. Personal development requires a bias towards action. A bend at the end of the road is not the end of the road, unless you fail to make the turn. My desire is that this blog will help you understand that sometimes pain is not the worst thing that can ever happen to us, pain can be the reason we make eminent changes that will bring a great deal of success in our lives.
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