Monday, August 29, 2011

Are You A Loser... Or A Learner?

I was talking with a teacher recently about a student in her classroom whose behavior was out of control one day to the point that she decided he needed a visit to the principal to reinforce the rules. She had to admit that she was amused however at his comment upon arriving at the principal’s door. It seems that under his breath he muttered, “I bet nothing good ever comes out of a visit here…”

Contrary to his prediction though, something good did come out of the visit. He now knows his boundaries and his behavior has improved. One of the hardest lessons to learn in life, for adults as well as children is that although bad things happen to us, something good can come out of a bad experience.  I can relate to this student's comment since this has been a difficult and eye opening lesson for me as well.  I've gone through a number of stages in this learning experience.  Earlier in my life I questioned hardship and asked, "Why me?  What have I done wrong? " or I compared myself to others and asked, "How come they are successful and I'm not?"  Later, I viewed hardship as something to struggle through and to gain something from the experience that I could use in some way either for myself or to counsel others through hard times.  In my current season of life, I feel that I have an even newer and different perspective.  Now, when faced with hardship and struggles, I ask myself the question, "Where's the opportunity in this?" Sometimes it's very difficult to see and takes a lot of searching.  It doesn't negate the pain or the suffering by any means.  But it does create something positive out of something negative.

Can you think of a time in your life when it seemed that everything was lost? Your hard work didn’t pay off? Your life had taken a turn for the worse? You felt like a failure? You were rejected by family or friends? Looking back on that experience from today’s perspective, do you feel that it became a turning point for a more positive life … that it guided you down a different path to a different goal but that you have ultimately been blessed by the change? Much of this depends on how you approach the experience. Do you regard it as a failure and yourself as a loser? What if instead you decided to treat the experience as a time to refocus, perhaps in a different direction? What if you decided to learn everything you could from the situation? What if instead of a loser… you decided to be a learner? What if you asked yourself, "Where's the opportunity in this?"

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