"Endure and persist; this pain will turn to good by and by." ~ Ovid.
There was an old man who lived on the far side of town who the other kids would talk about. He was a soldier in the war they said. When times got tough the other old men would ask him what to do - but when times were good he sat alone. If you want to know what to do go ask him for advice - but don't expect to like or agree with what he tells you my friends would say. "Oh and be ready for the test".
I went to see the old man during a winter blizzard and he met me at the door. Take off your shoes and walk back home in the snow. Get me a cup of sugar and walk back here barefoot and then we will talk - he said. "What are you crazy? I will freeze and my toes will get frostbite" I said. Ok - Then go read a book he said.
I thought "How will he know if I really take off my shoes?" Maybe I can just tell him I did and take them off for the start and the finish. But eventually I decided to do what he said. I took off my shoes, trudged through the snow and got him his cup of sugar and then I sat down with the old man. Why do you test me all the time? I would say to him and he would simply respond "We all like to learn but no-one likes to be taught". Why don't you just write a book with all this stuff so people can read what you did in the war, what it was like growing up in the orphanage and tell us some things you've learned in business?
He replied - My experiences are no different than anyone else's. They may entertain and amuse some people but that is all they are, my experiences. To truly understand you need to take off your shoes, walk back home through the freezing snow and go get me a cookie.
I think a lot about that old man. He was providing an opportunity to personally experience hardship - He was testing how much I really wanted to learn. He was, by all normal thinking, asking me to do and experience dangerous, crazy stuff that made no sense. It was up to me whether i took it, denied it or learned anything from it. I learned, as we all learn, through experience - Endure and Persist.