by Darrin Schenck

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by Darrin Schenck

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I thought this was an interesting way to remind you that the perspectives, beliefs and habits you have are the sum total of your life experiences so far.  It is easy to think that most people had led a similar life to the one you’ve had, and therefore their thoughts and beliefs are going to be very much aligned.  Not. Even. Close…

Their is so much division in the world these days, but is it really as much as it appears?  When each one of has had a completely unique upbringing and developmental environment, in some ways it makes you wonder how we could have much of anything in common.

Maybe I should have made the title “Our Wounds and Scars are Different”, because this factors in as well.  See, a wound is something that happened to you but “healed” in one way or another, largely to be a non-factor moving forward in your life.  A scar is when a wound heals yet leaves a mark that reminds you that this event occurred.  For example, the scar on the back of my left hand, although barely noticeable to most, is a reminder to me of the day of my head on collision with a wrong way drunk driver.  I was not physically harmed to much a degree in this crash, but the emotional and psychological toll were a prominent “scar”.  It changed the course of my life, but I worked hard to make something good come of this bad event.  I ended up doing talks for Mother’s Against Drunk Driving events such as DUI classes and similar educational events.  It began what has become a full blown pursuit of Public Speaking in general.  I have loved being on stage and sharing my stories of life, hopefully having some positive influence on those seated in front of me.

In stark contrast, I have a close friend that struggled with a disorder for years.  It was clear they had some “scars” from the past that drove this behavior, and it was a monumental effort to overcome this.  I cannot speak to the inner dialog someone must have to get to the point of hospitalization, but I can only imagine how harsh the words are that you would have to speak to yourself to get to that level.  That person’s scars run deep, and are completely different from mine.  Despite this, we have a lot in common and have shared experiences together that make us very close.  It is interesting to hear their perspective on things BECAUSE of their vastly different background and experiences.  The world seems to have lost sight of this in recent years.

I can’t speak to the “plight” of growing up rich and not knowing how the rest of society really works.  I grew up, let’s say “financially humble” and spent most of my life in that status until I finally learned how to operate differently and break free of that.  Believe me when I tell you that life in the top 10% of the financial brackets is far easier and better.  I never want to go back to the way things were, and am working hard to ensure that.  Those scars run deep and the lessons were painful.  They didn’t affect just me as time progressed, and that was another incentive to make the changes.  Not everyone has this same story, and I love hearing people’s stories in this realm to learn how they got where they are.

My main point of this blog is to remind you that the benefit of someone else’s perspective and experiences is of tremendous value and should be treated as such.  Sometimes you will learn from them, and sometimes they from you.  Its how it’s supposed to work.  You don’t have all the answers, no one does.  Stop acting like you do, or that you can be so convinced that things are the way you perceive them to be.  For a long time in history it was thought the the Earth was flat, then it was discovered that it wasn’t.  And now some believe once again that it is flat, and who knows, maybe they are right.  Since I can’t see for myself, I am taking someone else’s word for it.  I have my reservations (for good reason, in my opinion) to not blindly trust everything I am told.  Call me a cynic, but the track record of people in power always telling the truth is dismal at best.   Those scars are different too…

Whatever it is you decide to pursue in life, please understand that the older you get the more you realize the less you know.  We do it backwards for some reason; at 18 we think we know everything, by 25 you realize there is some stuff you don’t know much about.  By the time you hit your mid-thirties you may well discover that you barely know anything about anything.  It is just human nature to behave this way, and we have to learn along the way to get a grasp on things.  This is where the “scars” come into play, the experiences you have are the best teaching moments you get  Most of us are just not smart enough to learn from the advice of others.  Sad but true, life would be much easier if we did.  But then again you’d miss out on the experience and the perspective this provides.  So maybe in the long run this is a better way to go.

The next time you get into a discussion with someone who doesn’t seem to agree with your line of thinking, instead of walking away, try to listen and learn from this exchange.  Maybe nothing comes of it,  or maybe you gain some valuable wisdom that will serve you well.  Give it a shot, and be sure to give everyone the same benefit of doubt.  Some of my best mentors were people I never would have guessed would have much impact on me at all.  Be open, communicate, and most of all, listen respectfully and give someone the chance to state their case on why they believe something in particular.  Hopefully they will do the same.  Remember that their background, experience and scars are going to differ from yours.  Make the most of the moment and learn whatever you can, even if that is “I’d never see things that way”.  If you have learned anything from them, you are better for it.  You don’t need to “win” or prove your point and get them to change their mind, this is not the goal.  The real goal is the growth that takes place.  That will be the takeaway for you.  Embrace the opportunity to learn and grow, and move on with your life if there is not more to discuss.  But you might find that there is more common ground than you think…

I wish you luck in your endeavors.

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