Surely, I’m not the only one!

When we were young and naïve, we knew that we had ample time and abundant energy. Some of our friends even acted like they thought they were bulletproof.

The following decades brought us chances for wisdom. Our losses, scars, and remembered pain document that we’re not bulletproof. A couple of memorials further documented that our friends were not bulletproof either.

My body is 30 years older than it was 30 years ago. I have 1500 fewer weekends left.

Recently I was invited to provide wise perspective (as if I had it) to peers. Most of us learn more from our errors than from our victories. Here are some of my hard-earned lessons.

My over optimistic assumptions about my capacity cause the bulk of my apologies. I don’t build in enough margin. The other night I listened to an inspiring video. The speaker said, “no margin no ministry.” I’m not a pastor or a rabbi but I understand that deliberately ensuring there is a cushion provides the opportunity to have huge impact in others’ lives. I must do it better.

In high school a wise English teacher demanded that we journal for a semester. My inner packrat kept those laughable notes and over the last 50 years I have journaled often. Reviewing and reflecting has revealed my patterns and their consequences. Journaling has given me extra opportunities to obtain wisdom.

When we’re wise, we learn from others’ errors or their counsel. We also learn from the deep pain or our own missteps. Fools never learn.

Within the next 50 years, at least one of us will be gone. So little time! William Carey, a person of international impact, said “I don’t fear failure. I fear succeeding at what does not matter.”

My big question these days is “How I can do a better job of succeeding at things that matter in the days I have left?”


What lessons have you learned the hard way? I’d rather learn from your wisdom and experience instead of learning the hard way.


Terry Moore, CCIM, is the author of Building Legacy Wealth: How to Build Wealth and Live a Life Worth Imitating. Read his “Welcome to My Blog.

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