Understanding the Value of all of your Experiences #itallmatters

While attending my local Rotary meeting this morning I listened to a speaker talk about his new book that reinforced the ideas of encouragement and accomplishment by helping others realize just how powerful and successful they can be by revisiting what they have done well and also reviewing others who have had challenges they have overcome in their life.  One phrase the speaker used that really struck me was the phrase “It all matters”.  This phrase will be my focus on the upcoming series of blog posts I will write about challenges and success we all have and also with how to process and use them to be more successful.

I know when I look back at my life I see a number of successes and failures.  While most of us like to revel in the success and ignore the failure, I would encourage you to value both equally, and in some cases you might even review the failures more closely.  Some of my biggest failures have really ended up being doorways to future success.  I’ll share a few of mine first and then share some of the biggest failure in history that led to even greater accomplishment.

In 1977 I accepted an appointment to attend the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.  I was barely dry behind the ears and I left the central part of Illinois to join an elite group of men and women (second year for women at USNA).  I quickly realized that while I was physically ready for this challenge, I was no where near ready emotionally.  I decided to forego this opportunity and then headed to Murray, KY where I obtained a degree in Engineering Physics at Murray State University.  While there I met my wife, Gena, and we are about to celebrate 31 years of marriage.  That course change has set the stage for who I am now and many things that I treasure, namely my family, my profession, my faith and my love of all things in the South.

It may appear that I had a great failure by not staying at Annapolis.  Some may see this choice in that manner, but I see it much differently, especially now.  The lens of life changes focus as time goes by and I have learned much from that early failure or change in plans.

Let’s look at some others in our world who have made choices or had failures that ended up with much better outcomes in the long run:

  • Winston Churchill failed the sixth grade and lost every election he was involved with until he became Prime Minister at age 62
  • Wolfgang Mozart was told by the emperor that his operas were “far too noisy” and contained “far too many notes”
  • One of Dr. Seuss’ professors suggested that he drop out of the English department and out of college altogether.  He was rejected by 27 publishers before a printer accepted him
  • J.K. Rowling was broke, living on welfare and severely depressed while attempting to write her first novel (she was also a single, divorced mother)

I could go on an on, but I think you get the point.

History, both yours and history in general, is full of stories of failures that then led to even greater success.  I will spend time over a series of several posts describing how to learn from both your failures and your successes.

Life is full of challenges and those who enjoy it  most learn how to humbly savor their success while reviewing and learning from their failure.

At the end of the day, “It all Matters”.