I was at a football game not long ago. I was listening to one man (probably around 25) tell his buddy (another 25ish year old guy) about a fight he was in. As the two of them were having beers and were talking about the fight, the storyteller went on to talk about how he won the fight and gave another guy the beating. He told the story quite fondly and recalled each punch blow by blow. As he was recalling his victory and puffing out his chest, I started thinking about how I have never heard a guy tell a story about a fight he lost. I have yet to hear a person share a story about the colossal beating he or she took. As I processed this, something began to stir in me. I think there is something dangerous about how quick we are to constantly recall our successes and how slowly we are to admit our failures. What is worse yet is that I think many of us believe that we have not ever really failed. We know we have made mistakes, but we never really blow it or lose or make big mistakes.
I am very nervous about people who always win or always get it right. I am not talking about moral failures. Most people are honest enough to come clean on screwing up with certain right and wrong issues. I am talking about people and their choices regarding how they journey through life. I am amazed how it seems like every person I meet went to the right program at the right college. (I am waiting for someone to say I went to such and such a university and studied secondary education and the secondary education program there is not really that great.) Some people always buy the right car. It seems to be the best car for gas mileage and durability and comfort and so on. Their kids are always in the better league or club. They have always bought the right house in the right school district. And so on. Hear is the thing…Personally, I respect people who are honest about their bad decisions and am skeptical of people who seem to always choose correctly. The reality is that sometimes we get it flat wrong. No one really wins every fight or bats 1000. I think there is some incredible learning in our mistakes. I think the key is not missing the screw ups and actually admitting this. To do this, we need quit being self-delusional. You and I will be spectacularly wrong, that is ok. Admit and embrace it. In being real, you become someone worth respecting and valuing…and you become real.