Tag Archives: Life Lesson

On Being Savagely Successful

Only through failure can we learn to succeed.

While I believe that’s one of the most important life lessons we can learn, it’s all to often overlooked when we, as parents, attempt to shelter our little dudes and dudettes from this sort of thing, to ensure a failure-free lifetime for our spawn.

The problem with that plan is that it ensures the growth of a no-longer-child who cannot cope with setbacks, who doesn’t know how to learn from mistakes, use that knowledge to correct his or her errors and move on to the next aspect of his or her life. Those of us of the adult persuasion understand that learning from our mistakes so we don’t make them again is essential in just about every aspect of our daily existence.

Folks shouldn’t look at failure as a bad outcome, as long as they contain the persistence to continue working toward the goal they, at first, didn’t attain. Heck, listen to huckster and part-time inventor Thomas Alva Edison: I didn’t fail ten thousand times. I successfully eliminated, ten thousand times, materials and combinations which wouldn’t work.

Adam Savage is a Maker, sort-of scientist and best known as co-host of Discovery Channel’s Mythbusters series. Yesterday, I ran a list of his 10 rules for success. One of those rules said — simply — fail.

If you’ve ever watched Mythbusters, you know one of his sayings is that “Failure is always an option.” He’s not a defeatist, rather he understands that by examining why something failed and how it failed, he can apply those lessons to make the endeavor succeed.

Another of his rules that I particularly like would have to be: If you want something, ASK. I’ve a feeling this should be self-explanatory, but, for too many dudes and dudettes, this completely escapes them.

Too many people seem to believe that their only choices are the ones actually offered to them. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

One of the most important lessons that Zippy the College Boy learned in high school and that, hopefully, Hyper Lad will learn now that he’s attending the same high school, is to self advocate. Which means, in a nutshell, ask for what you want.

If you don’t understand something in class, ask the teacher for clarification. If you still don’t get it, don’t worry. Just keep asking and trying until you do.

If you see someone doing something cool? Ask them how they did it, how they learned it? Where can you learn it?

Looking at Savage’s list, I think the most important thing you can take away from it is that you should approach life as a participatory sport, rather than something you should watch happen.

Get involved! Get motivated!

Work, as Savage said, your ass off to achieve your goals. If you don’t have what you need to accomplish those goals, don’t collapse into a weeping pile of angst. Ask for help. Get what you need, practice the new skills and get good. Then go out and accomplish your goals.

Success takes more than just hard work and diligence, but you can’t succeed without either of them.

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More Relationship Rules

The most important part of any relationship is the middle. You can overcome a bad beginning and you can move on from a bad ending, but if you want the relationship to work, you’ve got to keep it going, moving forward and keeping it healthy.

Relationship expert, motivational speaker and author of the forthcoming book The People Factor, Van Moody has a lot to say about relationships. His people sent out a nicely detailed bit of information on how Moody views relationships and what we dudes need to do to keep them working for us.


Photo by Quez Shipman of EQS Photography
Photo by Quez Shipman of EQS Photography

Yesterday, I talked about some of the rules that Moody considers essential to making healthy relationships work in the office and at home. Today, we’re going to do even more.

Don’t repeat the past. The past should not define a person, and there is no reason to keep looking back. While previous events and actions might be a life lesson, the nature of every journey is to move forward. Don’t repeat those actions that did not produce the intended results; instead, focus on new choices that will effect a more desirable outcome. 

Really, it’s what I said at the beginning up there. You can recover from a bad beginning in most any relationship, provided all parties want to do so. It’s also an admonition to, if not forget, at least forgive. I specifically broke those two out because I think they’re two very separate events. You can forgive someone for doing you wrong, but you should always remember that it’s been done. That way, you ‘re not caught blindsided if it happens again. Cynical, but I think it works.

Don’t be a “taker.” All relationships involve give and take, so it is important to recognize when each relationship could use more of a giving spirit. When we think about what we can do for others instead of what they can do for us, we get to the very heart of healthy, successful interactions. In a strong relationship, both people willingly give, far more than they take. 

I can’t stress strongly enough just how important this one is. You’ve got to have a reciprocal relationship in which all parties are giving and taking. But just as important is one where no party is toting up the gives and the takes, trying to make sure everyone takes just as much as everyone else and no one has to give more than anyone else. This kind of scorekeeping really sours a relationship quickly.

Don’t stay in an unhealthy relationship. Unfortunately, sometimes we make a poor choice and enter into relationships that will never be healthy no matter what actions are taken. If someone is not able to accept a change in the status or direction, is not loyal and stable under pressure or in the face of challenge, or had once been dependable but now is unreliable, these are strong clues that the relationship may not be worth saving.  Don’t let feelings of misplaced guilt or sympathy get in the way of making good personal choices.

What he said. Really. It can be hard to take a realistic, practical look at your relationships and begin pruning away the ones that don’t work, but it is necessary. Mostly because of what we see in the next rule.

Don’t accept everyone. The people in your life right now are setting the course for next week, month, year and possibly the rest of your life. Accordingly, there must be a qualification and selection process for friends and others you choose to surround yourself with. Blocking the wrong people from your life is the only way to make room for the right people who help you achieve your dreams, enrich your lives, and create a happy, satisfying life experience.

It’s not that you want to be a relationship digger, only looking for the ones that can carry you forward, but it’s a matter of making sure you surround yourself with the right people who will help you to be the better dude or dudette you’re trying to become. If you hang around only with people who knew you in high school, you’re probably not going to act much differently than you did then. You only have a certain amount of time and energy, so you shouldn’t waste them on actions that are actively holding you back.

Don’t forget who and what really matters. The most valuable people in life aren’t always the most visible. People of true value bring fulfillment, not frustration. All too often, those taken for granted or overlooked are veritable lifesavers or ones that silently help us achieve goals, provide encouragement, or offer important insights and connections.

Here’s that whole relationship triage thing I was talking about earlier. Take a good look at the people with whom you interact, find the ones who mean the most to you and work hard to buttress those relationships.

There’s your homework, dudes. Right there. Take a good look at your life. See what’s working. See what’s not. Then have the strength to do something with that knowledge. It’s the direction of a healthy outcome.

For more from Van Moody, you can look for his book or he may be reached online at www.vanmoody.com.

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