A Bodey in Motion

Building momentum, one step at a time

Becoming Wise

There once was an old man known for his great wisdom and a young man asked him how he became so wise. The old man said, “I have good judgment.” The young man said, “How did you get good judgment?” The old man replied, “I have experience.” Of course the young man asked, “How did you get experience?” The old man answered, “Bad judgment.”

– Dave Ramsey, EntreLeadership

A failure is a project that doesn’t work, an initiative that teaches you something at the same time the outcome doesn’t move you directly closer to your goal.

A mistake is either a failure repeated, doing something for the second time when you should have known better, or a misguided attempt (because of carelessness, selfishness or hubris) that hindsight reminds you is worth avoiding.

Seth Godin

Trying something and failing is fine. It gives you a chance to learn something new, which gives you experience, which leads you to become more wise.

Mistakes are fine, too, but they’re an indication that you didn’t close that loop when you were given the first opportunity.

How much better to get wisdom than gold!
To get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver.

– Proverbs 16:16

What mistake are you making again and again? What do you need to learn from it?

October 15, 2012 Posted by | Past and Future | , , , , , , | Comments Off on Becoming Wise

You Will Fall Down

I’m the father of three great kids. I’ve taken two of them through the process of learning to ride a bicycle. (Number 3 has a few years before she has a go.) I distinctly remember standing with each of them at the top of a grassy hill at a local park, ready to let them loose under the tender mercies of gravity. I told them what was going to happen, and every step that they needed to take. Steer straight. Keep pedaling.

The words I never told them?

“You’re going to fall down.”

I knew it was going to happen, but I also know how powerful that kind of suggestion can be when learning a new skill. It was better for them to just fall, realize that it wasn’t so bad, and try again. It wouldn’t earn me any Father of the Year awards, but it got the job done. They both ride great.

Maybe I should have let them know what was coming, though. The fact is, whenever we start to learn a new skill, we’re going to fall down. Failure is always an option. If it weren’t, then success wouldn’t be worth it. Falling down is how we learn to do things better.

When I coach someone to put together their very first budget as a family, I know that it’s not going to go perfectly. Expenses will be underestimated or forgotten. Or there won’t be enough open communication to get all of the numbers right. Or they won’t hold themselves accountable to their plan. All of that is expected and normal. It just can’t stay that way.

Look, if how you handle your money is the biggest problem in your life – if your debt payments are overwhelming you, and you can’t see how to pay all of your bills – then working to make that better is the biggest opportunity you have to improve your life. Seizing that opportunity will require you to make a series of small, difficult changes, because there isn’t a single magic step you’ll take that will fix it all. To get the results you need it’s going to take time and practice.

After that first budget fails, talk about what mistakes were made and identify how it can be done better. With each month, it’ll improve more and more. Soon enough, there’s a good habit and a working plan.

And then you’ll fall down again.

Even after three years of being financially responsible and doing a lot of really good things, my family still makes mistakes. We’re still learning new lessons and figuring out new ways to do it better.

So, take the risk. You’ll probably fall down. That’s alright. Just pick yourself up and dust yourself off and keep trying.

Question: Is fear of failure keeping you from trying something new? How many times have you told yourself that you can’t make a budget because it just doesn’t work? What can you do today to help pick yourself up and try again?

September 3, 2012 Posted by | Marriage and Family, Past and Future, Work and Money | , , , | Comments Off on You Will Fall Down