How often are you learning and growing?

Today is July 15 and the Navigate the Chaos question to consider is “how often are you learning and growing?” Another way of asking today’s question is “what is life trying to teach me at this moment?” If you are aware of what life is trying to teach you, then you are learning and growing. This level of self-awareness may be difficult to attain at times. This is especially true when we are overwhelmed with family obligations, our own health issues, or financial concerns. If you allow those three worries to preoccupy your mind it will be nearly impossible to ruminate on today’s question.

Each daily Navigate the Chaos question requires just a few moments of time. The 365 questions are each designed for the person trying to figure out how to navigate their path in life and serve as a reminder to stop and conduct a brief self-assessment before they continue forward. Each daily assessment offers opportunities for learning. When collected over the course of weeks and months, the answers to each question form a mosaic of self-awareness that serve as a guidepost as you navigate the path of chaos in life.

American playwright and director Tyler Perry learned that his failures provided him many lessons that he used to move forward. Perry’s childhood in New Orleans was marked by a pattern of abuse by his father, and the bitterness from the broken relationship became a source of unforgiveness as Perry grew older, eventually moving to Atlanta. It was only after channeling his struggles through writing, that he found a deeper calling.

After praying for God to help him to forgive his father, whom he later reconciled with, Perry turned his turbulent story of forgiveness and redemption into the stage play “I Know I’ve Been Changed.” From 1992 to 1998, every time he put on the play it flopped and was considered a financial failure until he revamped it and found success taking it on the road from 1998 to 2000.

The playwright made his foray into films transposing many of his straight-to-DVD stage productions into screen gems, dating back to 2001 when he introduced his play “Diary of a Mad Black Woman” to wide audiences via DVDs that were sold on his Web site. It was the $50.7 million box office success of his 2005 debut “Diary of a Mad Black Woman” that landed him a lucrative first-look, multiyear distribution deal with Lionsgate Entertainment. Perry would go on to create 17 films and six television shows.

When reflecting upon his life Perry said

“You have to understand that what you may perceive to be a failure may very well be an opportunity to learn, grow, get better, and prepare for the next level. If you find the lessons in what you perceive to be failures, then you won’t ever fail at anything. Everything I learned during the ‘learning’ years (that’s what I call them now) has helped me in the ‘harvest’ years (that’s what I’m living in now). Do not be hard on yourself. You have not failed. Find the lesson so you can use it when you get to your harvest.”

Sometimes those learning years can seem insurmountable. There are simply too many clouds in the sky for any sunlight to get through, the mountains too high to climb, and the task too large to complete. It is during these moments of darkness that we must ask ourselves “what is the universe trying to teach me right now?” The common reflex is to walk away from such a question.

Such a glimpse into our own existence might be too overwhelming. But it is necessary if we are to find a way forward and continue navigating the chaos. Learning, growing, and asking ourselves ‘what is life trying to teach me’ are prerequisites for our travels.

How often are you learning, growing, or asking yourself ‘what is life trying to teach me right now?’