A couple hundred years ago, Benjamin Franklin shared with the world the secrets of success. “Never leave that till tomorrow which you can do today.” This is the man who discovered electricity – you’d think more of us would listen to what he has to say. I don’t know why we put things off, but if I had to guess, I’d say it has a lot to do with fear. Fear of failure, fear of pain, fear of rejection. Sometimes the fear is of just making a decision, because what if you’re wrong? What if you’re making a mistake you can’t undo? I’ve been an oppositionally defiant, stubborn, procrastinator my entire life. I’ve always been resistant to criticism and feedback from others – which is unfortunate, because I’ve probably made more mistakes than most. No matter how constructive, criticism used to quickly put me on the defense. In the past when I was criticized, I’d often feel personally attacked. But by immediately reacting, I was doing myself a disservice and was unable to gain valuable insight into possible flaws and areas where I could improve. Thanks to Salina’s guidance, in sobriety I’m much more open to differing perspectives & criticism from others. Now I’m able to recognize that we all make terrible mistakes, but that doesn’t mean we’re terrible people. We screw up. We lose our way. Even the best of us have our off days. Still we move forward. And it turns out sometimes we have to do the wrong thing. Mistakes are painful, but they’re the only way to find out who we really are. Sometimes we just need to shift our thinking. Get a new perspective. But you can't always see that you need a new perspective because, well, you need a new perspective to see that. It's complicated. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years, it’s that it only takes one person, one moment to change your life forever, to change your perspective, color your thinking. To force you to re-evaluate everything you think you know. To make you ask yourself the important questions: Do you know who you are? Do you know what you’re doing? Do you want to live this way?
People are really romantic about the beginnings of things. Fresh start, clean slate, a world of possibility. But no matter what new adventure you're embarking on, you're still you. I bring me into every new beginning in my life, so how different can it possibly be? It's all anybody wants. A clean slate, a new beginning. Like that's gonna be any easier. Ask the guy pushing the boulder up the hill. Nothing is easy about starting over – nothing at all. I think that true growth and change is less of an event, and more of a gradual progression of ups and downs. There’s a stage you go through in childbirth, and it’s the toughest part. It’s called the transition stage. You’ve been pushing so hard and for so long. You’re exhausted, spent, and there’s nothing to show for all of your effort. During this transition stage it feels like you can’t go on, but it’s because you’re very nearly there. Transition is movement from one part of a life to a whole new one. And it can feel like one long, scary, dark tunnel. But you have to come out the other side, because what’s been waiting there might be glorious. Early recovery is a lot like this transition phase. It can be scary to be criticized and find out you've been wrong or made a mistake. But we can't be afraid to change our minds, to accept that things are different, and that they'll never be the same – for better or for worse. We have to be willing to give up what we used to believe. Because the more we're willing to accept what is and not what we thought, the more we are able to grow as individuals.
The early bird catches the worm, a stitch in time saves nine, he who hesitates is lost. We can’t pretend we haven’t been told. We’ve all heard the proverbs, heard the philosophers, heard our grandparents warning us about wasting time, heard the damn poets about seizing the day. Still, sometimes we have to see for ourselves. We have to make our own mistakes, we have to learn our own lessons, we have to sweep today’s possibility under tomorrow’s rug until we can’t anymore. Until we finally understand for ourselves what Benjamin Franklin meant; that knowing is better than wondering. That waking is better than sleeping. And that even the biggest failure, even the worst, most intractable mistake beats the hell out of never trying. We screw up. We lose our way. Even the best of us have our off days. As long as we admit when we’re wrong, learn from our mistakes, & remain open to constructive criticism...then still, we are moving forward.