I am currently about 10,000 words into my fourth book. At about the 6000 word point, I realized this book was going to be something entirely different than I expected. By writing this story, I am learning a lot about myself and my life. Just another great reason for everyone to write their story. You never even have to show it to anyone else. So far, only Margie has heard what I have written. I think her lone comment was, “It is funny.” but we are getting there.
Aside from the comedy that was my young and crazy life, I learned several valuable lessons. This sounds crazy even as I am writing it. You would think that you are more likely to learn a lesson by living it, but many of them only appeared as I began to write about them. Maybe it was the space of time and distance that allowed me to gain a proper perspective. Maybe I was just to young and stupid to appreciate what life, the universe, God an the world were trying to teach me. It is probably a combination of the two.
One of the great lessons that occurred to me this morning was this – every great triumph in my life was proceeded by a tragedy. Every great period of growth and evolution was proceeded by a death of sorts. The ‘me’ that was had to be humbled and often that version of me was put to death. At that point, it felt that life had beaten me. There were job losses, people losses, health losses. After all of them, much like the mythical Phoenix, I rose from the ashes as a more powerful, more evolved version of me. The hard truth is that none of that growth would have been possible without the death.
A person close to me once told me, “Neil, life always seems to knock you down, but then you end up in an even better spot.” Quite true. The more I thought about that as I wrote, the more it seemed to show up. It revealed one of the secrets to not only my success, but success for anyone. It is a 3 word lesson – Triumph. Over. Tragedy. We are never really down until we refuse to get up. When life beats you down, remember this lesson. Look for the opportunity for growth. Use the ashes to build yourself anew. A stronger, more resilient and more evolved version of you. This thought can be summed up in this beautiful quote from Wilma Mankiller.