When I was young, many of the lessons we were taught in school were put on a chalkboard. The purpose of the chalkboard was so we could see things visually, to be more easily understood.
Then, in high school, our football coach would draw out our plays on a chalkboard so that we could get a clear picture of each play. He would then point out each of our assignments before we went outside to practice them on the field. Because we were young and inexperienced, we often made mistakes. That is when he would say, “We need to go back to the drawing board!”
Years later, as a school teacher, I used the same technique of writing things out on the chalkboard to help my students learn math. I would have them go to the board and write out their problem on the chalkboard, explaining each step. Many times, I would stop a student in the middle of their board work presentation and ask someone else in the class to tell us the next step in solving the math problem. I did that to keep everyone on their toes. I also wanted to see if everyone understood the correct properties that it took to answer the problem correctly. When students could explain the specific steps clearly, I knew they understood the concepts and we would move on to the next lesson. But, when they were not able to explain things clearly, we went back to the drawing board to go over things again.
The drawing board works the same way in life. It helps us to paint a clear picture of what we are trying to accomplish. If you are dreaming or focusing on having a better life, it will not happen automatically or by accident. There are daily steps that need to be taken to achieve your dreams and goals. It is proven that if you have a clear picture written out on a paper, or a vision board, then you are more likely to accomplish what you are trying to do.
In the world of business, these written goals form a business plan. Are you aware that a bank will not loan you money, nor will you ever get very many investors involved in your next venture if you do not have a clear business plan laid out for people to see and understand? A business plan is nothing more than a document that someone developed by going to the drawing board and writing out clearly the steps they are trying to accomplish to achieve success in their endeavor. That is what it takes to be successful in anything. And, when we do not know what to do, we need to go back to the drawing board and write things out in such a manner that make sense.
So, what happens if you have a written plan but make a mistake or need to make a change somehow? Well, you could do what we used to do as kids on the playground. If we were playing baseball and someone missed catching a ball or accidentally dropped the bat while trying to swing, they would immediately yell, “Do over! Do over!” They were asking for another chance to get it right.
I believe that all of life is one big, “Do over!” We all make mistakes. But that should not cause us to quit; rather it should cause us to become wiser. No one makes correct decisions all the time. I heard Charlie “Tremendous” Jones explain it this way, “God never made anyone who knows how to make right decisions. However, He did make people who know how to make wise decisions then make them right!” I believe that to be true! Acknowledge your mistakes when you make them, learn from them, and then take a “do over” and do better the next time. Life is a process and there is no better way to learn how to do things over than by simply going back to the drawing board, retracing our steps, and seeing where we went wrong so we will not go down that road again.
I once read that everyone’s life has 4 chapters: Chapter 1 – I walk down the road. There is a hole in the road. I fall in the hole. It is NOT my fault. Chapter 2 – I walk down the road. There is a hole in the road. I fall into the hole. It IS my fault. Chapter 3 – I walk down the road, there is a hole in the road. I see the hole. I walk around it. Chapter 4 – I walk down a new road.
I do not know about you, but the longer I live and the older I get, the more value I see in the wisdom that life has to offer. Life is such a great teacher! If we do not learn what life is trying to teach us the first time, the lesson will repeat itself until we finally get it. Watch the classic movie Family Man with Nicholas Cage to see what I am talking about! No one sets out to live in a foolish, haphazard, wasteful manner. We all want our lives to be productive, full of love, joy, peace, happiness, and many other qualities. Success is the result of hard work, focus, discipline, planning, and being willing to learn from the mistakes that we make on the journey.
This week let me encourage you to look at some of the areas of your life where you have not been as successful as you wanted to be. Get a pen and paper and write out the goals and dreams that you would like to personally accomplish. Put a date on them and add specific steps that you think you might need to take along the way. It is okay to make a mistake or change the plan along the way. Remember, if you fail to plan you are planning to fail!
Oh, and one more thing…laugh at yourself as you go along. Life is too short to be full of bitterness and anger over everything that has happened. Take a deep breath, smile a lot, and do not be afraid to yell, “Do over!” as you go back to the drawing board to make the necessary adjustments that will help you have the life you really want and so richly deserve.
Tip: Go back to the drawing board!
Have a great week! God bless you!
Dr. Robert A. Rohm