“There is something about experiencing repeated failure and lack of resources, that is a part of the formula for bringing out the deepest creativity, resourcefulness, and persistence needed to reach one’s personal greatness.” -Joshua Medcalf

Our Fear of Mistakes

“I have made some mistakes in my day, but I wouldn’t go back and change things because it helped me become who I am today.”

Everyone has heard something like this and probably said it themselves at some stage or another.

When we make mistakes or experience failure we create new challenges in our life.

In hindsight, we understand those challenges helped us grow.

But for some reason moving forward in life we still want the safe road.

We imagine a road of few mistakes or failure. Little resistance. No great challenges.

We desire the easy road because he have been conditioned to see our mistakes and failures as negative experiences.

What Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos can teach us about life?

Amazon’s Vision Statement: Our vision is to be Earth’s most customer centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.

Amazon was started in a garage 20 years ago and has since become one of the world’s largest companies.

They started with a simple idea: an online bookstore.

In only a couple years they went public and took over the book industry.

Many CEO’s would have been happy to just have been the best at selling books.

Not Jeff Bezos.

He has a much bigger vision.

He focuses on progress, not perfection.

He does not believe in failure, just learning.

Just look at Amazon’s history.

Launched one of the biggest technological flops of our generation: The Amazon Fire Phone.

Launched multiple projects to move into the clothing and grocery business without success.

Criticized by employees for hard working conditions.

Criticized for not turning a profit.

A stock that failed to produce substantial growth in the first 10 years.

And now a stock that many consider to be overvalued.

Failure, criticism, and stock price do not influence Bezos’s decision making.

Only his vision does.

He continues to seek out new challenges. New opportunities.

Amazon’s CEO has answered the 2 most important questions we can ask ourselves:

Who do I want to become? What impact do I want to have on others?

Just look at their vision statement.

They want to become Earth’s most customer centric company.

They want to impact our lives by enabling people to discover and buy anything on Amazon’s online store.

The Best Most Irresponsible Decision I Ever Made

After attending college in my hometown for a year and a half, I set off for a semester long study abroad program in Ireland. The experience was far more enjoyable and liberating than I had anticipated.

I felt a deep connection to the people. I felt I mattered. I started to find the charismatic and fun loving person I was as a kid.

3 months into my study abroad experience I decided to pursue moving to Ireland for another four years to complete my bachelor’s degree.

I can clearly remember that day in April when I called my parents to tell them I was moving there for good.

I am still not sure why my parents supported my decision enough that they cosigned those student loans!

The decision was incredibly irresponsible for many reasons, but largely due to the fact I did little research or thinking about the decision beforehand.

Tuition, Food, Housing, Car, Medical Bills…. I did not appreciate how hard it would be to go to school and have a job to pay for all those things.

I did not even think to research what type of jobs I could get with a bachelor’s degree in law from Ireland!

The journey would be far harder than I had ever realized and it wouldn’t get any easier after graduating with a large amount of student debt.

My decision was ill-advised. Poorly planned. Irresponsible.

But my choice created challenges that provided the opportunity for personal transformation.

The experience helped me to develop…

A humility to rely on others for help.

Relationships with friends that cared about me and wanted me to succeed.

An industriousness to not just work hard, but create opportunities.

A persistence that can only be developed in a struggle to pay bills and put food on the table.

Life skills that most my age never are given the opportunity to develop.

I am where I am today not because I made an irresponsible decision 11 years ago, but because of the many little decisions I made after that.

The Wrong Questions

We stress and focus far too much on the wrong questions.

What college should I go to? What should I study? What career is right for me? Where should I live? Who should I marry? How many kids should I have? When should I retire?

People want to know the safe answers to the big decisions we have in life.

We want to make decisions and pursue things in life that put us on the easy road to success.

Less struggle. Fewer challenges. According to plan.

Great success comes from great opportunities.

Great opportunities come from great challenges.

Great challenges come from pursuing dreams, living with passion, and seeing everything as an opportunity to learn and grow.

If you choose to seek and thrive on challenges in your life.

They will think you are crazy for living with passion.

They will see you as irresponsible and reckless for pursuing your dreams.

They will judge you as a failure, but you will be too busy learning.

The Right Questions

Ask yourself today and everyday…

1.Who do I want to be in life?

2. What impact do I want to have on others?

Answer those 2 questions.

And then work to become that person and have that impact on others.

Life is less about choosing the right college, the right job, the right spouse, the right number of kids, etc…

Life is more about the small choices we make everyday that are shaping who we are becoming and the impact we are having on others wherever we are in our life.

Don’t play it safe. Don’t settle for comfortable.

Living safe and comfortable is never the road to reaching your potential.

Great things are not achieved living according to a plan, they are only realized when we live according to our vision in life.

“Those who are crazy enough to think they can change the world usually do.” -Steve Jobs

-J.P. Nerbun