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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Part 2: What do you do.... When You've Failed at...


This is the second and final post regarding mistakes and failures in my Life.

Part 1 of this pitiful series, describing 5 failures I lived through from age 16 - 25, can be seen by clicking on the following link:

After taking on too much risk in the stock market in my mid-20's and going into, what for me at the time was pretty substantial debt, I realized that the one thing that was missing in my life that would get me out of my depression over losing all my money, was...


Wow - What a Misguided Young Man I was!

Let me first off tell you my view on 95% of marriages....

It's simple, succinct and based upon my own experience and the observations I've made of many other marriages.

You ready for it?

Ok.... here it is.

Marriage, at its worst, is a Neverending Nightmare.

Marriage, at its best, is a Continuous Compromise.

Oh, I know, we can all talk about the Immaculate Marriage, where both people met when they were in High School, and have 3 perfect kids and the perfectly manicured lawn surrounding the 2-story brick in Anywhere, USA.....

But that's the exception.

The rest of us pretty much live in marriages boundaried by the descriptions above.

So let's talk about my Failure #6:

My first marriage.

Now before I get too far off into this, let me make a few things clear:
  • I believe in the concept of "temporary insanity".  Ever looked back on something you did and said. "Man... I must've been crazy to do that!".  Through a combination of mental, emotional, physical and other factors and circumstances and environment, you can make decisions that are completely averse to your "normal" tendencies and nature.
  • I have no intentions to imply that nor will there be any verbiage written that will indicate that my first wife, the mother of my daughter, is anything other than a fine and upstanding person.
  • The failure of my first marriage was largely my fault.
So, how and what happened.

Ever heard the old saying "Well Begun is Half Done".

Well let me throw a new one at you.... "Ill Begun and You're Done".

The bottom line is that the relationship began on rocky ground and never recovered.

There were really 2 mistakes / failures in my first marriage, both a function of my stubbornness and ego:
  1. My 1st wife gave me every indication she did not want to be married to me... before we got married.... and I decided to go through with it.  Details?  What difference do the details make?  The learning / point here is that you cannot force someone to do what you want them to do and you have to understand the motivation for the other person's actions and act accordingly.  Learning #1: When you are in a losing relationship, You have to be willing to cut your losses and say "I'm done here.... Have a Good Life.... without Me"..... and move on.  I didn't do that.... and that was my mistake.
  2. Only 1 thing worse than a mistake.  And that is making a 2nd mistake based on the 1st mistake.  What was my 2nd mistake?  I stayed married.... for way too long.  Why?  Because I was brought up believing that you stuck with a marriage.... that you made it work.... no matter what.  It's hard to make something that is fundamentally wrong, that is by design, wrong.... it's hard to make that right.  Learning #2: Rapid Recognition Of and Response To the Wrong Situations will save you a lot of Grief in Life.  Learning #3: It's Your Life and Your Happiness.... Don't let Yourself be guided by societal, familial or other external influences.  Evaluate the situation on its own merits and make the decision that is best for you.
And yes, I'm eternally grateful for my daughter, from my first marriage.  But you have to keep things separated...... the marriage was a failure.... the daughter that came from it and my relationship with her is a success.

It's that simple.

Failure #7:

I'm gonna wrap up this list of failures with My Mother of All Failures....

The One I have struggled with since my early 20s....

The One I still struggle with now.

Control of My Emotions....

More specifically.....

Anger Management.

Let me first say, Anger is not necessarily a bad thing.  

The key is how it is presented, released and..... managed.

That's why the term Anger Management is so important.

For some or maybe most people, Anger Management is no problem. 

They have these wonderful chemicals floating around in their brain at just the right concentrations and it doesn't matter how or how much they sleep or eat or how stressful it is at work or whether the kids are acting up or their marriage is falling apart or somebody cuts them off on the road.....

They just take it all in stride and maybe manage a muffled cuss word or they walk out of the house and take a walk.... never a shout or a show of anger.

God Bless those People.....Unfortunately, I ain't one of them.

It seems all negative emotions and happenings in life... whether it's fear, hurt, loss, failure, rejection, challenge, insult..... whatever.... I react with Anger.

There's really 2 ways to look at managing Anger:
  1. How much you let build up on the inside.
  2. How much you let go to the outside.
Let's look at a few points to consider in Anger Management:
  • First, You have to understand where the anger comes from.... you have to recognize the origins.  Whether it's negative interactions with your spouse or your kids or your boss or the failure you feel in your career or finances or _______. 
  • Once you have identified the sources of your anger, you have to start building up plans, defenses, methods to cushion, to cope, to avoid, to resist those points of origin for the anger that springs up inside you. 
  • Let's say you've realized that the last 5 times you and your spouse have had an argument, it's been at night before you go to bed.  You've thought about it and you've realized that the reason why you get angry is that, quite simply, you're tired.  You're a Morning Person not a Night Person. You're used up from the day's challenges and activities and you just don't have the physical, mental and emotional capacity to face the discussions that most likely are focusing on some deficiency of yours or requiring you to do something or change something about yourself.
  • In this example, it might help to talk to your spouse about NOT having these type of discussions at 10:30 at night.  Suggest that they write the main points down and discuss it in the morning or some other more appropriate time. 
  • There's no guarantee that's gonna work because your spouse may just decide that bedtime is the right time to bring these things up so you better have a backup plan.... like something that's in your control.... like controlling your reaction.
  • You may just have to rehearse how you're gonna react and say to yourself, "Ok, the next time he or she brings up something negative or potentially controversial at night, I'm gonna just take a deep breath and say 'Can we talk about this in the morning?' or 'I respect your view.... let me think about what I can do about it and talk to you about it tomorrow'".
Now let's look at something more physical you may have control over....
  • It's no secret that how you manage your lifestyle can affect your mood, outlook and general emotional makeup.
  • So - what exactly is your lifestyle.... Well it could be a lot of things - Sleep, Diet, Exercise, Alcohol - Tobacco - Drug Use, Stress Control, Time Management..... You can add to the list.
  • For me, one of the most important thing is my sleep patterns - how long I sleep and the quality of sleep.
  • The problem is.... a lot of things affect my sleep.
I'm gonna stop right here to make a really important point - Ok, call it a ramble. 

Some people might think "Man - this guy spends a lot of time trying to figure himself out.... seems like he focuses on himself a lot."

To that I say "Yep - you're probably right"..... and what's wrong with that? 

I think that the Greatest DISCOVERY in Life is....


I would submit that if everybody spent a lot more time focusing on themselves and what makes them tick and tock, the world would be a lot better place.

But.... No.... What do people do? 

They abdicate responsibility for understanding themselves to someone else.... a best friend, a network of friends, a life coach, a counselor, a psychiatrist..... or a doctor who listens for about 5 minutes and then shoves a sackful of anti-depressants at them.

Now don't get me wrong..... there are a few people out there..... that really need deep mental and emotional assistance that requires some drug regimen.... but it ain't the number of people that's on 'em now.

So back to identifying what helps you physically cope with negative emotions like Anger.

Try a little Self-Analysis.

I know that if I drink alcohol, it definitely removes what few filters I have on what I say.  In other words, I'm a lot more prone to fire back at someone who tickles my anger bone. 

I also know that if I eat a lot of bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, sweets, etc.... you know - the bad stuff - that I feel like shit..... and when I feel like shit, I'm a lot more likely to respond to a negative situation with anger.

Tired and Hungry is a bad combo for me.... I can do pretty well with one or the other, but put the 2 together and hit me with your best shot and you'll probably get a worse shot in return.

So guess what I try to do? 

Avoid alcohol, eat right and on some schedule and get my Z's.

Now - let's look at the other side of the coin..... things that I should do to control the Inner Beast.

When I work out hard, consistently.... on a day to day basis, I feel a sense of calm and control that I don't feel when I'm skipping workouts and sitting on the couch every evening watching TV.


It's chemical, Man.... Best drugs in the world are the ones your own body manufactures. 

You wanna get high? 

Try working out really hard for an hour - the kind of workout that leaves you drenched in sweat, gasping for air bent over with your hands on your knees.  That'll take the Anger out of you.

How have I done at Anger Management throughout my Life?

Pretty Poorly.... thank you very little.

How have I done at it over the last year or so?

Less Poorly.... I'm working on it.

So... Quick Summary.

Control Anger by Recognition of, Response to and Management of People and Situations that Trigger the Anger


Control Anger by Recognition of, Response to and Management of Specific Personal Lifestyle Elements that Restricts and Minimizes the Manufacture of Anger.

Simple Concepts.... Difficult to Apply.

Now to wrap up the whole Failures of Life discussion with the following concept.

There's a lot of Polyannas out there who refuse to examine, lend credence to or seek perspective of and meaning from the failures in their lives.

My advice.... Don't be one of them.


Because You'll learn a lot more from your Failures....

Than Your Successes.

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