“If I am walking with two other men, each of them will serve as my teacher. I will pick out the good points of the one and imitate them, and the bad points of the other and correct them in myself.” ~ Confucius
Before I even started on the 100 Pedals journey, I shared with Brandon my ideas. His response was that this was one of “my best ideas ever.” I was concerned about the impact of sharing my story and, in turn, sharing his. Brandon embraced the idea because he believed that what I was experiencing relative to his life was a worthy lesson for others. Later, as I became more open with updates and experiences about Brandon’s journey, I revisited my concern about the impact of being open and honest on his life. His response surprised me – “Dad, if knowing my story turns people away from me or makes them uncomfortable with me, I don’t need them.” This is a very brave and clear perspective.
As I was thinking this morning about the progress that Brandon has made and the story that he has empowered me to share, this quote captured my attention. Everyone has an opportunity to learn from others. To learn, you need to take a walk with them in order to know, understand, and relate to them. Brandon’s story, his experiences, his mistakes, his successes and his failures are all lessons. He has obtained and internalized much knowledge from the life he has lived. People could judge, avoid, criticize or rebuke his decisions – or, they can listen to him, understand his story, and learn from him. I am proud of the progress he has made. When he shares his insights about his life, there is an unbelievable amount of wisdom in his thoughts and stories. He has powerful things to know and share. However, not everyone will be comfortable in the room with an addict in recovery. For those people who want to keep Brandon at a distance, you are missing out on a learning opportunity.
It is often said that to be financially successful in life, you need to diversify your portfolio. In order to enrich your life and enhance your personal growth and development, you need to diversify the contacts you have and the walks you take. Life’s lesson are best learned by walking with different people with a wide range of different perspectives and experiences. Like Confucius, you internalize and imitate those lessons that resonate as successful and inspirational; and, you correct within yourself those behaviors, thoughts, and ideas that were out of place. The more people you walk with, the more you learn. The wider the range of experiences the greater the influence on your personal growth and development.