Daily Short-hOPT: The Red Pen

“Somebody has said that words are a lot like inflated money – the more of them that you use, the less each of them is worth. Right on. Go through your entire letter just as many times as it takes. Search out and Annihilate all unnecessary words, and sentences—even entire paragraphs.” – Malcolm Forbes

I used to despise writing, which is actually sort of comical to me now given that I spend the majority of my days writing orders for a judge and posts for this blog. But, it is true.

I believe it was the red pen. That dreaded red pen led to mark after mark on the submitted paper, which highlighted defect after defect in my writing, which I thought exposed flaw after flaw in my intelligence. The more red marks my paper had, the less smart I thought I was.

I do not think anyone is a real fan of being told that they are not proficient at something. Each red-marked correction on the page just stared back at me as an insult on my intelligence. They made me frustrated, so I countered it by hating to write.

Life is like this. We may apply for a job and not get hired. We may enter a race and not win. We may play or coach for a championship and come up short. We may receive a poor evaluation. We may burn a dinner. We may miss a deadline.

From all of these things, the world tells us that we are not good enough. And, we believe it. We build these walls around ourselves for protection, and blame something or someone else. We never conquer this emotion or deal with it. We just continually move about with these walls blinding our path so that we are not able to see the next opportunity because we are so focused on the past rejections and failures.

“Every time I thought I was being rejected from something good, I was actually being redirected to something better.” – Steve Maraboli

As it turns out, I am not the bad writer that my red marks led me to believe. Want to know why? I started using them to learn how to write better. I stopped using them to tell me I was wrong or a failure, and started looking at them as how I could be more right. The more drafts I write, the more revisions I make, the more practice I get, the better I get.

Life is like this too. We are constantly drafting and redrafting our lives. Every failure, rejection, or red mark is an opportunity to learn something about ourselves that we did not know before. It is a chance to evaluate, see where we need to improve, and make a revision.

Life’s blemishes do not mean our story ends; they mean a better draft awaits.

Bring your best today!

Love, Noah


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