The Unfortunate Way We Develop Good Judgment (Also: The Unfortunate Way I Come Up With Blog Post Ideas)

I wish I could say I started A Brave Life because I was born with a major set of cojones, and that I write about the countless situations in which I’ve demonstrated great courage.

Actually, it’s quite the opposite.

I’ve had many more chicken sh*t moments than I’ve had brave ones. But I desperately want to be brave and wise, and since I tend to obsess over what I don’t yet have, the cyber world is home to whether it likes it or not.

The simple and unfortunate methodology behind content creation for this site is: I write when I’m licking my wounds after a major life screw-up. But as it turns out, these moments are when you are your most humble, teachable, and malleable. You won’t get any wiser than you are when you’re on your knees.

For example, I wrote this post because even after paying off $28k in credit card debt, I suffer from extreme financial anxiety. As in, while I’m lying in bed at night, I stay up late punching numbers in my calculator, hoping that my financial situation will look different each time. (Confession: Sometimes I do this until I fall asleep, calculator still in hand.) I hate that I’m like this. So I write about it.

I wrote this post because I was disappointed with how a political debate had unfolded on my Facebook wall. (It got ugly, people.) Neither side was innocent of appearing like a total butthead, including myself. So I wrote about it.

I wrote this post because the one and only gorgeous guy at my former job had a crush on me. And at the time, despite being happily engaged to my now husband, I couldn’t help but notice that, well, the one and only gorgeous guy at my former job had a crush on me! I realized how tempting it was to do something supremely stupid. So I wrote about it.

Final Thoughts

And now, a story about a wise man named Nasrudin…

“Oh great sage, Nasrudin,” said the eager student. “I must ask you a very important question, the answer to which we all seek: What is the secret to attaining happiness?”

Nasrudin thought for a time, then responded. “The secret of happiness is good judgment.”

“Ah,” said the student. “But how do we attain good judgement?”

“From experience,” answered Nasrudin.

“Yes,” said the student. “But how do we attain experience?”

“Bad judgment.”

Your Turn: What lessons have you learned the hard way?


Photo Credit

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10 Responses to The Unfortunate Way We Develop Good Judgment (Also: The Unfortunate Way I Come Up With Blog Post Ideas)

  1. Pingback: 4 Reasons Why You Should Tell Others About Your Financial Anxiety | a brave life

  2. Sheryl says:

    Just about every life lesson worth learning has come the hard way for me. Sometimes taking more than one or two goes through the round of bad decisions. My current state of mostly good financial judgement comes (in large respects) from having made some less than sound financial choices while in university. How on earth did I graduate with so much debt and yet SO MANY SHOES? Even worse, so many cheap shoes that wouldn’t last more than a season or two at most.

    My ability to be at peace with life throwing sh*tty circumstances at me in the past year comes a lot from remembering how astounding terrible I was at dealing with my own emotional space when I was a teenager and realizing that I am NEVER going to allow myself to go back to that headspace and being in crummy situations and knowing that the only healthy way to get through it now is to try and just accept the crummy situations and hold on to the belief that the bad stuff gets easier, and that it’s possible to make it through mostly intact as long as I trust myself to get there.

    • Kimberly Eclipse says:

      I hear you on the shoes-despite-debt mystery, haha.

      Lessons learned the hard way really seem to stick. And I think it’s because of what you said– you just never want to go back that pain from your past. You’d do anything to avoid it (or at least handle it better), even if it means embracing challenging “inner work” and deep change.

  3. YFFIL says:

    Hey Kaffee! Right on!

  4. Kaffee says:

    Love the quote at the end. So true! I have to say that a lot of my unhappiness has stemmed from not knowing all of the answers to life’s questions RIGHT NOW! I’m now just learning to let it all go… that every figurative bruise and minor cut is a learning experience. Oh yes, and those people who drive me completely nuts… another learning experience!
    As far as experience, one of my professor’s used to say: “We have ‘ah-ha’ moments and ‘ah-sh*#’ moments.” My old boss used to say: “Another f#$%-ing opportunity for growth.” Growth hurts! But it’s worth it.

    • Kimberly Eclipse says:

      I can definitely relate to feeling anxious and unhappy because of not knowing all the answers “RIGHT NOW!” It’s true that the key to reducing the emotional torture is an internal adjustment, not necessarily working harder (or more obsessively) to find all the answers, or fixing every detail of your circumstances. Please share any practices that have helped you “let it all go”!

      And as for “We have ‘ah-ha’ moments and ‘ah-sh*t’ moments”…WORD.

      • Kaffee says:

        Hmm… practices for letting it all go… I would have to say meditation (there’s an app for that ;) ) and taking inventory of the things that you do have. For me, it really put my life in perspective when I did some observation hours with an Occupational Therapist who did hand therapy. He treated a lot of people who were recovering from carpel tunnel surgery and couldn’t even wipe their tushies or reach back and put their bra on. Wow! How much I take for granted!
        There was one patient who really put things in perspective. He was a man in his 40′s and came in with his little girl. He was super cheerful and I noticed that his pointer finger and middle finger were pretty deformed… like they were burned. Turns out he had a cut that got infected on his hand, he had a flesh eating virus that almost killed him, and he had to have a skin graft over his two fingers (joining them together for a while). He had many surgeries and may not be able to fully extend his pointer finger… yet… he was chipper, joking around, able to respond to his young girl who wanted to watch another episode of My Little Ponies on his iPad.
        Some days are like… hey I really kicked butt today. Other days are… OMG! I made it out alive. I can still wipe myself, put my bra on, feed myself, I have shelter, I have people who care for me and love me, I have electricity (or will soon!), etc. Take inventory, girl.

        • Kimberly says:

          LOVE this. I heard someone say if the only prayer or meditation you ever recite is “Thank you,” you’re good to go.

          Coincidentally, this week I’ve been thinking about gratitude, taking inventory, and looking outside the bubble of your life (thanks to some Hurricane Sandy-related revelations and an episode of Oprah’s Lifeclass, hehe). It’s amazing how these shifts in thinking can change your perception of life, and thus your level of joy/ fulfillment.

          Thanks for sharing these excellent tips!

          • Kaffee says:

            Love the ‘Thank you’ meditation! What a great way to practice gratitude. I’m going to try that.

            I have to tell you that Oprah’s Lifeclass has been awesome. I’ve found time and time again that I have so many ‘ah-ha’ moments watching those.

            • Kimberly says:

              Is she offering an online class or just the Lifeclass shows on OWN? Yeah, I really love the guests she’s been interviewing lately, as well her Super Soul Sunday program.

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