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By Jim Byous
This is for my children and grandchildren. My old friend, A.T. Dowd, has written the following. It is a rewrite of a guest blog from 2015. It includes a few more thoughts while re-emphasizing the main points. So, youngsters, as well as others who may be reading, please study and use as applicable. I will do the same.
Never Look Back: A Reflection on What “They” Say
They – whoever they may be – say to never look back. That statement is unwise and illogical. “They” say it’s better to regret something that you do than something that you didn’t do. That’s complete and utter bull crap.
Always check behind you — that is your vulnerable and blind spot — but, don’t do it continually, you’ll run into something that you aren’t expecting. Analyze what you have done, the good points and the bad. Build on the past rather live in it. Learn from it. Always look back and analyze what you’ve done. If the experience is bad, throw it out and refuse to repeat it.
Always regret the things that you did wrong, but only to a point. Deal with it and move on. The correct term is, “Don’t dwell on the past.” If you didn’t do something, it’s done… as in, “it’s gone.” If it was good, there will be another opportunity. If it wasn’t then there is no loss. “They” also like to say, “don’t live in the past.” This is partially true… partially. However, learn to live ON the past, not IN the past. You, your character and your view on life is joined to comprise what and who you are. And, what you are is made up of what you have experienced, what you have gleaned from that experience and how you apply it to your life.
You were born at the perfect and correct time. There is a purpose and a reason for your existence. Don’t squander what you have been given. And remember, if you are lucky you will live to an old age. “Old age” is a gift that many will not and do not experience. Cherish getting older. It is interesting that that time in life where you start figuring out what it’s about, it’s time to leave… like a movie or a book. You can’t quite get the entirety until the last page is finished or the last credit rolls into the black. Wisdom and understanding come with age. Respect it.
So, live for today with an eye on the future; the next fork in the road, the next hill or mountain, the next opportunity. However, occasionally look back to see what has and can hurt you down the road. And, don’t whine and complain about the path that you are on. If you get discouraged, sit down and have a private moment of complaint and examination… quickly get out of your system. It has been my practice to limit those episodes to about five to ten minutes. My wife has experienced may occasions where I say, “I’ll be back in a few minutes. I’m going to have a quick pity party and start over.” An old friend, Walter Grubb, the president of Harrison Chilhowee and The King’s Academy in Tennessee once told me on the slopes of Mount Whitney, “You can climb the mountain, you can kick the mountain, you can cuss the mountain. The mountain doesn’t care.” So, deal with it and get on with it.
As far as teamwork. An adage that is loosely attributed to General George Patton says, “Lead, follow or get out of the way.” I’ve always said, “Cut your own path; to hell with the parade.” Cooperate with “leaders,” respect authority and strive in a co-equal goal. But, remember that people are flawed. Work together but follow no individual. Follow God alone. If you don’t know how to do that, talk to me. I’ll tell you my experience.
Here are a few more adages to consider:
- If you think your opponent is stupid, but your opponent has consistently beaten you, it is time reassess your position in the equation. (See next)
- On sizing up opposition: If you pay attention, President Donald Trump has been constantly underestimated. For good or bad, that is a mistake by his opposition. Here’s a quote from his book, The Art of the Deal. It says, “I fight when I feel I’m getting screwed, even if it’s costly and difficult and highly risky.” I re-emphasize the topic… His resolve is constantly underestimated. Never under or over-estimate the opposition. (See above)
- Study the opposition. To understand Donald Trump I read his book. A famous line from the biographical movie Patton he is shown at the end of his tank-battle victory over Germany’s great General Rommel. Patton says, “Rommel, you magnificent bastard, I read your book!” If your opposition has written a book… read the book.
- Another saying that I have experienced is this – “Sometimes it takes courage to just show up.” So,… SHOW UP.
You get but one ride on the carousel called life. Make it a good ride. – A.T. Dowd
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