Over the last few years one of my main focuses, aside from mental health recovery, has been personal development.
I’ve returned to university and am working on developing my skills for a long-term career in journalism.
I’m not going to lie. It has been a grind; I recently completed the latest of my English courses and it was brutal.
I definitely did not get the mark I would have liked on the final exam, but, upon reflection, that is okay.
Even not doing as well as I would have liked, some benefits, in addition to the much-needed credits, came from the course.
First, I learned that with my busy full-time work schedule juggling two courses at the same time is not the best of ideas.
Second, at the end of the day, I passed and I got the three credits I need to go towards my degree and in the grand scheme of things, that is what matters.
Third, it serves as a reminder that I am human and can’t always excel at everything.
With the English course done, I can now turn my attention to the science course that I have been working on that is in dire need of some attention as well, which I have been unable to work on very much because my attention was diverted in too many other directions.
It was not all that long ago that the marks I got on the English course, or the lack of forward momentum on the science course, would have had me seriously panicked, questioning my path forward, and given my self-confidence a tremendous hit.
I think one thing that has helped me change my mindset is motivational speaker, author, and former U.S. Navy SEAL Jocko Willink.
In one of his speeches I found online, and in his book Discipline Equals Freedom, Willink recounts an interaction with a teammate, friend and subordinate, who would come to him when issues arose.
Willink’s response to all these issues was one word: “Good.”
At first glance, one wonders how any negative issue can come across as “good;” but, as he continued, he makes a definite argument for “good” coming out of bad situations.
A couple of examples Willink uses are related to gear and promotions in the military; not getting updated gear for the unit allowed the team to stick with the basics, while someone not getting a promotion gave them more time in rank to build experience, take courses, and be successful next time.
While the initial results could, obviously, be disappointing, there is good in the bad.
This brings me back to my school work; as long as I learned a few things from this last experience, I’m still ahead of the curve.
I learned to stick to one course at a time going forward so that I can do the course, and do it well, before moving on to the next one.
In a more, material way, this happened recently with a vehicle repair as well; recently my daily commuter needed some work on the front suspension. Initially, I was told the repair would be relatively cheap; however, that did not end up being the case as instead of just being able to purchase the part I needed the entire assembly needed to be purchased and replaced at approximately triple the cost.
While initially disappointing — because, really, who likes spending money on vehicle repairs — upon reflection, there is good that came out of this; with the assembly replaced, it will quite likely last the rest of the life of the vehicle now.
While this shift in mindset may not be earth-shattering for most, for me it has been an absolute game-changer. It has allowed me to not get bogged down, and depressed when things don’t go exactly right.
For anyone wanting to make a change in their life, and maybe find a shift in mindset, I would definitely check out any of Willink’s videos or books, there is literally nothing to lose and everything to gain.
You never know where that game-changing epiphany is going to come from.