“Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted. And experience is often the most valuable thing you have to offer.”
– Randy Pausch
How many times have you had a bad experience? Did you choose to complain about that experience or learn from it? I recently wrote a paper for one of my Concordia MBA courses, in which I discussed how I developed into the leader that I am today. In the paper, I wrote about a rough patch in my life during high school where I wanted nothing more than to fast-forward through it all. Although high school seems like just yesterday here I am ten years later, and I still find myself asking: what did I learn from those bad experiences?
I learned that life is what you make of it. I chose to use those bad experiences as reinforcement to help me succeed in my life. Those (what I considered to be the worst experiences of my life at the time) rough patches helped me set goals, stay focused, and become successful. Instead of looking back, and saying high school was a horrible experience I have chosen to remain positive, and focus on all the good that it brought me. Some of my best friends are still those friends I made in high school. I married my high school sweetheart, and as I look back now it is obvious that high school really did pave the way for where I am today.
I think why I consider myself a leader today is because thus far I have made the most of my experiences, and have learned from them. I have chosen to have a positive attitude, which has gotten me through so many things in life. It is true as the old saying goes, a smile really can go a long way. Although there are times when it would be easier to be negative, and simply decide to brush off an experience as a loss, what benefit would that gain me? What benefit would anyone gain from that?
I challenge you to make the most of any experience, and to remain focused on the positive. Learn from those experiences because they will continue to develop you into the leader you are called to be!