With Veteran’s Day upcoming on Friday November 11th, I wanted repost a prior blog on a key learning from my time of service in Army.
“Experience is the mother of all learning,” so the saying goes. We all have some defining experiences in our lives.
If we look back, there are probably a few events in our school years that we can still recall having a major impact on our lives. Whether it was a big championship game, an interaction with a great teacher, or some unfortunate painful experience, we still carry those experiences throughout our adult years. There are definitely some experiences from our close relationships, probably some positive and some negative, which remain with us as we continue our journey. Likewise, there are experiences in our chosen career that became teachable moments for us and we have carried those lessons with us to this day.
During my time in the Army, I certainly had some experiences that stay with me to this day. I learned a great deal about myself and a great deal about leadership, courage, strategy, and tactics. When I reflect back on the most significant learning, it was quite simple; the importance of just keeping moving forward. Whether tired, scared, or confused, just keep moving forward toward your objective. As an infantryman, with a heavy pack, leading a platoon of soldiers, the pressing call was always to keep moving forward toward the objective. Whether it was to complete a long, difficult road march, a specific tactical scenario that needed to be mastered in total darkness, or whether it was securing an objective on the battlefield in Iraq. No matter the ups and downs in that pursuit, there was a clear calling to just keep moving forward no matter what came our way.
Applying the principle to keep moving forward to our general journey of life would remind us that we know what the objectives are in serving a cause greater than our own, building a strong family, and a purposeful career. We know there will be unavoidable difficulties and very painful experiences that we will encounter. There will definitely be things we said or did that we genuinely wish we could take back and “do over.” However, there are no “do overs” in the life we are living. There is a need to be intentional about what we learn from those experiences, and we just need to keep moving forward in the direction of our objective.
It is important that we accept the reality that “do overs” don’t happen in this life. Many times, the damage is done, and perhaps only time can bring about some healing. We cannot “re-raise” our children, “re-live” some difficult moments in relationships, or “re-live” that career choice of 10 years ago. First impressions cannot be remade. Mean-spirited comments cannot be restated. Scars, many times, cannot be completely removed.
Life can only be lived in the present moment. What we have today is a great opportunity to keep moving forward regardless of the pain from the past. We will build and strengthen our character as we continue to move forward towards our objective, and our Character Creates Opportunity to build healthy relationships and puts us on the most effective path to accomplish our hopes and dreams.
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