Lessons Learned

It seems to me…

Live as if you were to die tomorrow.  Learn as if you were to live forever.”  ~ Mahatma Gandhi.

Living and learning!  Together they bring so much to life.  Contrary to what many people think, especially when young, they form much of the foundation for success in life.  Life is so short and time passes with unbelievably speed; the mistaken temptation is to compromise on both.

I’ve always been told that experience is what we get from our mistakes.  If I actually had learned the many lessons resulting from my mistakes, I would be a genius.  Needless to say, I’ve made quite a few mistakes in my life – some of them more than once.  (And if given the opportunity, I would not mind making some of those “mistakes” a few more times.)

Experience might be the best teacher but if I could once again be young knowing what I know now, I’m sure I would make an equal number of entirely different mistakes.  They are unavoidable; the possibilities infinite.  What is important is to take advantage of the mostly unexpected opportunities mistakes provide us.

Many people go to school just waiting for that day when it no longer is necessary.  Learning, whether formal or just experiential needs to be a life-long pursuit to be enjoyed and relished.  Knowledge makes life fuller and richer.  There never should be some goal or completion as we never know enough about anything.  Learn to love learning simply for the pure pleasure knowledge can bring.  As in so many things, the primary value lies not in reaching some destination; it is in the journey.

Despite how difficult saying “no” always has been, in hindsight, many great opportunities remain missed.  All of us say “no” far more than we should.  Take that chance; get out of your comfort zone.  Probably the best advice is when young to not be afraid to take chances, and when older, not to regret decisions made or possibilities missed.

We frequently are advised to “just do your best”.  Well our best usually isn’t good enough.  To feel better about our efforts, and in order to succeed, we need to always challenge ourselves to do that 1 percent more than anyone else.  Fortunately, that isn’t difficult.

There are quite a few lists out there with titles similar to “The One Million Things I Want To Do Before I Die”.  While suitable for inspiration, those are someone else’s list – not yours.  No one can possibly do everything they would like: the very process of day-to-day living takes time.  Still, when young, everyone should start their dream list, add items to it throughout life, and check as many of them off as possible before it becomes too late.  Learn to fly a plane, ride a horse in the surf by the ocean, earn your PhD, climb all the fourteeners, scuba dive in the South Pacific…  Do what is important to you.

Not being able to afford something frequently is used as an excuse to not do anything.  I’ve known people who saved all their lives hoping to leave something for their children/grandchildren only to lose it in an end of life illness.  Every generation has to take responsibility for its self.  Never be afraid to spend on yourself.  It is not being selfish to spend one’s own money; after all, you are the one that earned it.  Ideally, I’ll run out of time and money at the same time.

And never let fear of injury or being hurt prevent you from doing something.  The only way never to get hurt is to never get out of bed.  The more active you are, the higher the probability of injury.  I loved to get out and run but ran knowing I would be sufficiently hurt at some point during the year that it would temporarily prevent me from running.  It always is best to wear out than to rust out.  The best advice I can give to someone is to hope they get hurt many times throughout their life.

Regardless of age, one thing all of us should do everyday is to smile, laugh, and decide to be happy.  There are many things we can regret in life but what would bother me most is if I suddenly realized I had gotten old and never taken the time to live.

That’s what I think, what about you?

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About lewbornmann

Lewis J. Bornmann has his doctorate in Computer Science. He became a volunteer for the American Red Cross following his retirement from teaching Computer Science, Mathematics, and Information Systems, at Mesa State College in Grand Junction, CO. He previously was on the staff at the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus, Stanford University, and several other universities. Dr. Bornmann has provided emergency assistance in areas devastated by hurricanes, floods, and wildfires. He has responded to emergencies on local Disaster Action Teams (DAT), assisted with Services to Armed Forces (SAF), and taught Disaster Services classes and Health & Safety classes. He and his wife, Barb, are certified operators of the American Red Cross Emergency Communications Response Vehicle (ECRV), a self-contained unit capable of providing satellite-based communications and technology-related assistance at disaster sites. He served on the governing board of a large international professional organization (ACM), was chair of a committee overseeing several hundred worldwide volunteer chapters, helped organize large international conferences, served on numerous technical committees, and presented technical papers at numerous symposiums and conferences. He has numerous Who’s Who citations for his technical and professional contributions and many years of management experience with major corporations including General Electric, Boeing, and as an independent contractor. He was a principal contributor on numerous large technology-related development projects, including having written the Systems Concepts for NASA’s largest supercomputing system at the Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley. With over 40 years of experience in scientific and commercial computer systems management and development, he worked on a wide variety of computer-related systems from small single embedded microprocessor based applications to some of the largest distributed heterogeneous supercomputing systems ever planned.
This entry was posted in Dream, Happy, Injury, Laugh, Learn, Live, Mistakes, Opportunity, Smile, Success and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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