A Real Friend

Do you have any real friends? Most likely, you have many acquaintances, but very few real friends! Many of the people who are hanging around your life today are really superficial and will tell you only what you want to hear, when you want to hear it; just to be your “so-called” friend! But, a real friend will tell you when your slip is hanging, when your pants zipper is opened, or when your breath is bad! A real friend will tell you, in a diplomatic way of course, that you need to make some improvements, when everybody else is telling you that you got it going on!

Learn to appreciate your real friends! It is better to be alone than to be surrounded by false friends! There are some people that you will need to jettison from your life! Here are just a few: Get rid of, or minimize your contact with the “Kill-Joys” in your life! These are the people who rain of your parade because they are jealous of your progress or success! Stay away from the “Whiners!” These are the people who constantly complain and seek to monopolize your time with their pseudo-problems! You can easily tell who these people are: They are the ones who want you to always listen to them, but they never have time to really listen to you! Misery loves company, but the company doesn’t have to be you! Get rid of the “Kiss-Butts!” These are the people who are afraid of being truthful and honest with you because they fear that they will lose the advantage of being associated with you! (You must understand that there are some people who are hanging around you only because of what they think they can get out of it!) These people will tell you whatever you want to hear, whenever you want to hear it! They will tell you that you are right, when it is obvious to you, them, and anyone else with a moral compass, that you are wrong!

How do you know whether or not you have a real friend? A real friend will always challenge you to be the best that you can be! A real friend will tell you when you “act foolishly” but with the same breath will remind you that you are not a fool! A real friend is not jealous of your success, nor jubilant in your defeat. Instead, a real friend shares in the glory of your victory and the agony of your defeat! A real friend knows when to leave you alone when you really don’t want to be bothered but knows when and how to stick around when you say that you don’t want to be bothered, but you really don’t want to be left alone! A real friend is wise enough to support your decisions that they don’t agree with, and if it should turn out that they were right and you were wrong, they will not gloat by saying: “I told you so!” A real friend appreciates your individuality and doesn’t seek to make you a “clone!” If you have a real friend, you are truly blessed!

The Learning Shortcut

Many people have heard of the term, “the learning curve” but few people are aware of “the learning shortcut!” We have been taught from childhood, that experience is the best teacher! And it is true; practice has always been a more effective learning tool than theory! But what many people fail to realize is that all of the experiences you learn from don’t necessarily have to be your own! You shouldn’t have to learn all of your lessons from your own mistakes; you should also learn from the mistakes of others! If you see twenty people attempting to cross a certain street and every one of them is struck by a “Mack” truck, it would be a good idea for you to analyze their mistakes before you attempted to cross that street! Even the Bible advocates that we take the learning shortcut! The Apostle Paul, in referring to the error the Children of Israel made in the “golden calf” incident during the time of Moses, wrote: “Now these things occurred as examples to us, so that we might not desire evil as they did . . . These things happened to them to serve as an example and they were written down to instruct us, on whom the end of the ages have come.” (I Cor. 10:6; 11 NRSV)

You see life is too short for you to personally experience all the things you need to experience in order to determine what will and what will not work! Many people are living a life of frustrating defeat because they are constantly trying to re-invent the wheel! Whatever you are going through, you can be assured that somebody, at some time, has already been through it! My parents used to try to relate this to me by saying: “Son, we’ve already been where you are trying to go!” People today put it this way: “Been there! Done that!”

So learn to take “the learning shortcut!” You will get to your destination much quicker if you, not only learn from your own mistakes, but also from the mistakes of others! In fact, if you will be careful to learn from the experiences of other people, you will not make as many mistakes yourself as you would have otherwise.