Today I will follow an honoring invitation from fellow blogger Abubakar Jamil, on a topic very close to me: life lessons. Since life is already too short for all the things we’d like to do, I will skip any introduction.
1. You Gotta Live It To Settle It
When I was 18 I had to serve as a soldier for my country. 2 months after I started my service, a series of events, known today as the Romanian Revolution, took place. Without any previous warning, I found myself in the middle of a civil war. As a soldier, I had to protect my leader, the communist dictator Ceausescu. But as a free man, I wanted to follow the current, and support the groups who started to broke down one of the most stupid and perverted communist regimes in the Eastern Europe.
When the first signs of riots came to our military unit, I had to do my first shift as a guard. The schedule for guards was made weeks before. At that time, I thought that was the worst thing that could happen to me: why should I have to find myself in the middle of the field, with only 5 bullets (the maximum under the communist regime) trying to protect myself from the military intelligence who wanted to force us to fight and from the insurgents, who were thinking I was their enemy. It was one of the most intense, powerful, and, I admit it, one of the most frightening situations I ever experienced. Now, I think this was one of the luckiest moments of my life.
I didn’t sleep for 5 nights and 6 days. After this time, I was reborn. In just 5 nights and 6 days, the communist regime was down and almost the entire riot was finished. What initially looked like a long and wearing civil war ended in less than a week. Some of my army colleagues decided to withdraw from their duty, calling in sick and stacking up at the infirmary beds. I didn’t. I chose to stay there and face my fate. I stayed there, in the trenches and looked my own fears in the eyes. In the 6th morning, when one of my colleagues came in running, telling me that Ceausescu was captured, I felt reborn. And I really was reborn.
Avoidance is not a solution. Withdrawal is not a solution. Whenever life puts a violent crisis in front of you, live it. Be there, do your thing. Not only you will emerge stronger and wiser than before, but, most of the time, you’ll realize the crisis was much easier than you expected it. It wasn’t really such a big deal. As long as you dealt with it.
Read more about my experience as a Romanian soldier during the Romanian Revolution.
2. Understand Your Own Message
A few months ago,, my 4 year old daughter, Bianca, made a habit out of asking for my iPhone every morning. And every morning I gave it to her, hoping she will play some of the games we picked together. Every morning, after keeping my iPhone for a few minutes, she handed it back and went to spend her day as usual. After a few weeks, when I started my Notes app, I discovered some gibberish in it, apparently written the same morning.
I wasn’t the author of that sequence of letters, that’s for sure. It was something like “iauhdkajh skljah laskjhf”. I assumed that my iPhone was accidentally started in my pocket and moved over. But there was another note, with the date of the previous day. The same random letters and some numbers. And so was the day before, and the day before. Then it hit me: it was Bianca’s writing. This is what she was doing every morning with my iPhone.
When I asked her what she was writing, she answered in a second: “well, it was a few days ago, when we went to see a movie”. And this note, what was this for? “Well, when we went together in the park, don’t you remember?”. As we talked more about those notes I realized that Bianca was writing her own journal there. Her own book of life. Only it was in a very strange language for me. Without her help, I couldn’t understand it.
Don’t make assumptions. Be clear. Your book of life may sound ok for you, but other people may not get it. You gotta be sure everybody understands your message. Every time you experience some misunderstandings in your life, check your message first. Your message may be just a row of gibberish to the other person. Do your best to translate your message accordingly.
Read more about Bianca’s book of life.
3. You Don’t Really Have Enemies
Almost a year ago I started a blogging workshop. I announced it on my blog and through my professional and personal network. To my surprise, a lot of people expressed their interest in it. Although it was priced as a premium product, with 3 full days of teaching, practical lessons and live blogging, I had the spots filled in not only for the first (and the only one, in my mind) session, but for a second one too. To any of my personal standards, this project was a big success.
At the same time, the most visited blogger in Romania wrote a very negative review about this project. In fact, he wrote an entire negative blog post about my person. Apparently, I wasn’t able to open a computer, had no expertise whatsoever in blogging and the whole workshop was way to pricey. In other words, a scam. It wasn’t the first time when that blogger had an aggressive attitude towards me, he had very negative blog posts about me back when I had a network of niche websites in Romania.
I answered to that blog post with a comment detailing my position. For a few hours I was concerned about the whole story. Until I realized something I should have seen from the first second. I didn’t need any validation. The whole blog post proved something much more important (and subtle, for what matters): my actions created a real impact. A very big one, to be honest. Although that blogger positioned himself as an opponent, he really wasn’t one. He just showed me that he was afraid of what I did. He felt his position was threatened. (Of course, it wasn’t about himself and his line of business, because my workshop had a completely different approach to blogging, but that was not important anymore).
You have only friends. Some of them may teach you something in a very harsh way but they are still your friends. When somebody attacks you, don’t fall for your first reaction: defending yourself, excusing or even accusing the other part. This may mean you’re powerful beyond what you perceive and you must have scared the other person. Either way, the whole concept of enemy disappears in this approach.
Do youÂ have any other lessons to share? If yes, I’d be happy to learn yours either in the comments or in your own blog posts. There’s a whole lot of bloggers covering their life experiences in this series.