The Ultimate Classroom By Jim Stovall

You have probably heard it said that someone went to the “school of hard knocks.” This, of course, means that they may not have had any formal education, but they learned a lot from living their life.

Life is, in fact, the best teacher any of us will ever have. Our past is the lesson, our present is the exam, and our future will be the grades we receive. If we do not learn from the mistakes we have made in the past, we will fail the exam, and our future will be the same as our past. Just like in school, those who do not learn the lessons have to repeat a grade over and over again.

It has been said that the definition of insanity is to continue doing the same thing while expecting a different result. If you make a mistake, it can either be the end of your efforts or the fertilizer that will make your dreams grow in the future.

Studying history is as much about where we are going as where we have been. Those who do not learn from history are destined to repeat it. I am a big fan of my fellow Oklahoman Will Rogers. He wrote many extremely timely newspaper columns and editorials during the 1920s and early 1930s. He was one of the most respected minds and voices of his time. But maybe the most significant thing about Will Rogers’ commentaries is that so many of them are still valid and speak to us today.

If you look back at any point in history, you will find that people were struggling with the same things that you and I struggle with today. We have a number of new technological advances that make our lives faster and more convenient, but the issues facing humanity remain the same. A wise person learns from their own mistakes. An even wiser person will learn from the mistakes of others without having to go through the experience themselves.

If you watch professional golfers, either on television or in person, you will see that they observe the line and breaks on the green as other golfers are putting. This is known as “going to school” on the other golfers. We need to do this in our own personal and professional lives. Human beings are unique in that we can build on one another’s accomplishments and learn from one another’s mistakes.

As you go through your day today, turn mistakes into lessons and lessons into future success.

Today’s the day!
Jim Stovall is the president of Narrative Television Network, as well as a published author of many books including The Ultimate Gift. He is also a columnist and motivational speaker. He may be reached at

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