Be a learner – avoid repeated mistakes

It is impossible to always make good decisions. Everyone makes mistakes – some big, some small. Making a bad decision does not make you a bad person. What is important is that you learn from your mistakes, and avoid repeating them. One of the reasons I enjoy traveling so much is that you get to see the world, and you learn a lot about life. Unfortunately, some of it is due to mistakes I make, bad decision, or short-sighted judgments.

Making a bad decision does not make you a bad person.
Making a bad decision does not make you a bad person.

A simple example

For example, it was a mistake not to use the free wi-fi that was available at the resort on our trip to Cancun last year. As a result, we wracked up hundreds of dollars in extra roaming charges – a costly mistake. Another example – it was a bad decision to return a rental car in Germany without the gas tank full. The customer service person was not thrilled, and it cost me a lot of grief and money. Lastly, I was short-sighted when I received a parking ticket in Rothenburg and “forgot” to pay it. The rental car company added a hefty fee for dealing with the ticket when they billed my credit card.

Use WI-FI when traveling, especially overseas. Otherwise you will make a costly mistake.
Use WI-FI when traveling. Otherwise, you will make a costly mistake.

We can learn from our mistakes

These mistakes were learning experiences. I will make sure these mistakes do not happen again. Be a learner – avoid making the same mistakes over an over. Pay particular attention to your mistakes that result in loss, waste, or destruction. You want to avoid mistakes that create broken relationships with family and friends, results in losing large amounts of money, or wasting your time. Instead, learn lessons from your mistakes and apply those in future situations. Smart people learn – fools don’t…and none of us want to be a fool.

“Wisdom comes from life experience; life experience is the result of repeatedly taking corrective action while courageously learning from mistakes.” ― Ken Poirot

Be a creative force – the world needs ideas

This time last year the world lost two musical geniuses – David Bowie and Prince. These two men were very different people, but both of them were extremely creative. They each produced a large body of work (over 30 albums), full of both hits and misses. I am impressed by the breadth and depth of their creativity, and their drive to make new music. Many rock musicians have a moment of greatness and then sink back into obscurity…never to be heard from again.

How do you stay relevant?

Somehow David Bowie and Prince were able to remain relevant for many years. Each of them changed the music scene with their creative ideas. David Bowie became Ziggy Stardust and released one of the best albums of the 70s. He returned a decade later with the album Let’s Dance which was brilliant. Prince ruled the 80s for a few years with his new music and movie Purple Rain. He was already popular by then but took it to a whole new level. These landmark efforts made each of them a household name which is pretty amazing. Both of them continued writing and releasing music until their last days on earth. They never really faded away.

Prince was a musical genius who kept releasing music for years.
Prince was a musical genius who kept releasing music for years.

You have the ability to be creative

I encourage you to be a creative force in the world. I am not saying that you need to be musical, or emulate the lifestyle of either Bowie or Prince. Both of them struggled with drugs and relationships. What I am saying is that it takes time, energy, effort, and discipline to be creative, and generate new ideas. Too many people fall into a rut and never get around to bringing something new into the world. Don’t be like that – contribute your ideas. It is one of the main reasons that God created you. I have already noticed that you are very creative, full of unique ideas. Cultivate and share your ideas. They will make the world a better place.

“Dearly beloved, We are gathered here today, 2 get through this thing called life. Electric word life. It means forever and that’s a mighty long time.” ― Let’s Go Crazy by Prince

Nothing in this world is free – not even you

Last year you will recall that we stayed at an “all inclusive” resort in Cancun Mexico for Spring Break. While there you did not have to pay for any food, coffee, snacks, or drinks. It felt like everything was free…but it was not. The reality is that I paid the resort a fixed price for all of us before we left for the trip. Also, my parents paid for the room so that we could afford the trip. This type of vacation is designed for convenience, and I hope that you truly enjoyed it. I know that I did.

Gavin and Riley chilling  on the beach at the resort in Cancun.
Gavin and Riley chilling on the beach at the resort in Cancun.

The lesson to learn is that nothing in the world is really free. There is a cost for everything, even if you are not the one paying. It is easy to walk in this world without fully knowing this truth, particularly when it comes to your own life. Today is Easter Sunday. A special day for all of us who choose to follow Christ. Today we celebrate Christ rising from the dead in order to give us new life. I want to make sure you understand what Christ has done for you. He has paid the ultimate price with his own blood for you so that you can have new life. No one else could do what was needed. Don’t forget to thank Him for what he did so that you can live free.

I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. John 10:10

Lessons learned while traveling – Cancun Mexico

As you know, I really enjoy traveling. Seeing other parts of the world is fun. Experiencing other cultures is eye-opening. Many of life’s greatest lessons I have learned while traveling. Spring Break is next week, so I was thinking about our trip last year to a luxury resort in Cancun Mexico. My parents were nice enough to let us borrow their timeshare points to enjoy a week off in paradise.

We can learn a lot from Mexicans

I bet that you noticed a few things during the trip. First – it is rewarding to take a week off and relax. The place we stayed was awesome. We had great weather, and a chance to truly relax. It is important to take time off and enjoy life. Second – you saw first hand another culture that is much different than ours. Mexicans speak a different language, eat different foods, and take a different approach to work. I was impressed with how hard everyone at the resort worked, and how diligent they were in making sure that we had what we needed during our stay. Lastly, you witnessed first hand the art of haggling. Some items you buy do not really have a set price. Instead, you will have to negotiate the cost with the seller – it is expected. I do not pretend to be an expert in haggling, but understand that I will not pay more for something than what I think it is worth.

The resort we stayed in was great. Right on the beach.
The resort we stayed in was great. Right on the beach.

We will continue traveling

I hope you learned these lessons and more during our trip. We have several trips coming up soon. Riley – we are going away again this year for Spring Break. I am looking forward to relaxing in the sun, especially with our recent crazy weather. Gavin – I am taking you to New York City for the first time. You will get a chance to see one of the greatest cities in the world. Of course, we have exciting summer vacation trip plans as we visit a new part of Europe. We will see and learn a lot. A great adventure is ahead for us.

So I just sit right here and have another beer in Mexico. Do my best to waste another day
– Beer in Mexico, Kenny Chesney

Each day has its challenges – grind them out

The reality we all face is that each day is full of many different parts, events, activities, and emotions. Some things may go well, others not so well, and some may be horrible. For example, you may do really well on a test in school, but end up with a tough homework assignment that you cannot figure out. It is very rare that I have a day that is either all good or all difficult. Even days off and vacation days can have their ups and downs.

What do you do when it gets tough?

Dealing with the good stuff is not hard. Sorting through the crappy stuff can be much more difficult. In fact, it can wear you down. I recommend that you learn how to “grind it out” when faced with something you have to do, and you know may not go well. For example, I have run many races. It is a rare occurrence that I feel good and run well the entire race. Many times it is not going well at some point in the race and doubt starts to creep in. Questions come to mind like why am I doing this…I should have stayed in bed.

Approaching the finish line of the Army ten miler. Great race but always tough finish.
Approaching the finish line of the Army ten miler. Note I am carrying my other shirt in my hand.

Take it one step at a time

Many times I seriously consider quitting, but then remind myself that I have faced bigger challenges and that I just need to grind out the last few miles. One foot in front of the other, until I reached the finish line. It may result in a horrible finish time, but at least I made it. You know that I play to win, and always want to do my best…but sometimes, just making it to the finish line is the best you can do. That effort alone will pay dividends at a future time. I believe overcoming these small obstacles is critical to achieving big things.

Adversity can strengthen you if you have the will to grind it out.
– Ray Kroc, Founder of McDonalds