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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

How People Teach Us The Lessons We Are Supposed To Learn.

In 2008 I went to a developing nation with the United Nations Department Of Peacekeeping Operations. So many nations had sent men and women to assist in the capacity building of this developing nation. I had the opportunity to work with many nationalities, who, outside of opportunities like this, I would never have met.

I worked directly with a Singaporean, Malaysian, Phillipino, Iranian, African, Indian, Australian and a Nepalese.

Everyone got on with everyone else most of the time and I found all of them helpful and curious about my country. I enjoyed my time with them and learned about them all, their families, religions and their countries.

I did have one stand out moment and this is the point of my blog entry. I had to fly to a location away from our base. The flight in the huge Russian helicoptor took 45 minutes and I was accompanied by an Indian Army associate.

We got to talking and he told me how he thinks about things at the end of the day. Now, this is a man who has been involved with the Indian army for over 20 years, so you can imagine the things he has seen. He told me that when someone who works for him makes a mistake or something unexpected happens, he doesn't panic or get angry or blame the other person.

Instead, he asks himself two questions.

1. Will someone die from this mistake?
2. Will I regret this on my deathbed?

Now, what this little lesson taught me has stayed with me. I have people who work for me and when anything goes wrong I ask myself those two questions. What I have found is this. So far, 100 percent of the time, no one will or has died from an everyday mistake. Also, nothing has been so bad that I would regret it on my deathbed.

So what you say?

Well, have you made and do you make a big deal of others or your own mistakes or situations? Are those things you sweat about really that important? Are you unable to put things into context?

Try it next time something happens that would normally send you into a tailspin. Ask yourself those two questions and I bet that both answers will not only surprise you, but will help in putting your 'issues' in context.

It was such a simple conversation, but it has affected my decision making and thoughts many times since.