Learning from Experience

The Sufi philosopher, Izhrat Khan once said that, “Life is an endless series of problems, like the waves from the ocean.

This is a good description of your life, as well. From the time you are young, throughout your life, you will have an endless string of problems, of all kinds. You will have personal problems, financial problems, relationship problems, health problems, business problems, career problems, and who knows what else. They never end.

The only interruption to this endless series of problems will be the occasional crisis. If you’re living a normal life in our fast-moving society, you will probably have a crisis of some kind every two or three months. By its very definition, a crisis comes “unbidden.”

This means that a crisis is a large, sudden reversal or setback that you did not or could not anticipate or guard against.

Peter Drucker says that the mark of the leader is the way that “He or she deals with the inevitable crisis.”

What this means is that you are either in a crisis right now, you have just gotten out of a crisis, or you are just about to have a crisis. In any case, the only thing that will matter will be how effectively you deal with the crisis.

Average people, weak people, respond to problems and crises ineffectively. They become angry or depressed. They lash out or sulk. They blame other people or make excuses. As a result, their problems and crises often grow and become overwhelming.

Strong people, leaders, deal with problems and crisis in an effective and competent manner. There are two ways that you can learn to surmount the inevitable difficulties of life and become a leader in whatever you do.

First, focus on the solution rather than the problem. Focus on the positive, constructive actions that you can take immediately to solve the problem or to minimize the crisis. Don’t waste a moment making excuses, criticing, complaining or blaming other people. This simply distracts you, weakens you and dissipates your energy. It makes you less effective and more likely to make mistakes.

Be absolutely clear about what has happened. What steps can be taken to resolve the difficulty? What actions can you take immediately to take control of the situation? These ideas can be life changing.

The second key to dealing with any problem or crisis is for you to “Seek the valuable lesson.” Napoleon Hill is famous for saying, “Within any problem or setback there lies the seed of an equal or greater opportunity or benefit.”

Your job is to look into every setback or difficulty for the lesson that it might contain. Imagine that there was a great power in the universe that wants to help you to be more successful and happy in the future. But this great power knows that you have a perverse nature, and you will not learn unless it hurts.

Therefore, whenever you suffer a pain of any kind – emotional, financial, health, personal – you should assume that this great power is trying to teach you a lesson that will help you in the future. Your job is to accurately identify the lesson or lessons so that you can learn them once and for all.

Once you begin to seek the lesson, answers will come to you quickly and easily. Don’t be satisfied with quick answers. Instead, ask the question, “What else is the answer?”

Beware of any problem for which there is only one definition, and beware of any problem for which there is one solution or lesson.

It is said that “Great souls learn great lessons from small events.”

Sometimes, if the problem is complex enough or has lasted for a long time, you can sit down with a pad of paper and ask this question, “What are all the lessons I have learned from this situation?”

You will be amazed to find that you may have learned five or ten or even twenty lessons from a difficult situation. Once you have identified these lessons and learned them, the chances of you making the same mistake are greatly reduced.

When you have a problem and you take control of it in your mind, you become a stronger and better person. The next time you face a problem or crises, focus quickly on the solution, on the specific actions that you can take immediately to resolve it.

Then, ask yourself, “Why is this happening?” What is the lesson that this problem contains for you?

It is said that wisdom is the ability to make good decisions, but that wisdom actually comes from having made bad decisions earlier.

There is nothing wrong with making decisions. The only thing that is unforgivable is our failure to learn from each situation so that we grow more surely toward the stars.


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About Brian Tracy — Brian is recognized as the top sales training and personal success authority in the world today. He has authored more than 60 books and has produced more than 500 audio and video learning programs on sales, management, business success and personal development, including worldwide bestseller The Psychology of Achievement. Brian's goal is to help you achieve your personal and business goals faster and easier than you ever imagined. You can follow him on Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Linkedin and Youtube.

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