In Defense of The Hard Way: Part 2

If learning the hard way means you learned from an honest mistake while moving forward, then that’s not bad; that’s progress.


The following is a continuation of an idea I began working on last year. 

Growing up, I was a big fan of DC Talk. I had the cassettes, memorized the lyrics, and even drummed along to each track. What will people think when they hear that I’m a Jesus Freak?

One of their earlier songs was called The Hard Way. Note the 90’s fashion. Also, Toby Mac pulling the Benjamin Button:

The older I get, the more I think that “learning the hard way” is a bit of a misnomer. I mean, it’s not as if there are only two types of people in the world; those who learn the easy way and those who don’t. No, we all make mistakes. Learning through trial and error is just part of being human.

Of course books, mentors, and schooling all make education easier. But you can get your PhD and still be a moron.

That’s because the most important lessons tend to come through experience. You tried that thing and it didn’t work. You trusted that person and they betrayed you. You missed that opportunity you should have taken. Or, you did everything right and the crap still hit the fan.


Most of the time, life doesn’t happen in the war room; it happens on the battlefield, in real time, with real people, and things get bloody fast.

There is no “easy way”, there is only reality.

If learning the hard way means you learned from an honest mistake while moving forward, then that’s not bad; that’s progress.

Maybe it’s time for better categories:

  1. Those who learn with humility and wisdom.
  2. Those who don’t due to arrogance and stupidity.

The Bible speaks to this in the book of Proverbs. For example,

Wise people treasure knowledge, but the babbling of a fool invites disaster. Proverbs 10:14

Pride leads to disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom. Proverbs 11:1

Fools think their own way is right, but the wise listen to others. Proverbs 12:15

The wise are cautious and avoid danger; fools plunge ahead with reckless confidence. Proverbs 14:16

Mockers hate to be corrected, so they stay away from the wise. Proverbs 15:12

A wise person is hungry for knowledge, while the fool feeds on trash. Proverbs 15:14

Fools have no interest in understanding; they only want to air their own opinions. Proverbs 18:2

Intelligent people are always ready to learn. Their ears are open for knowledge. Proverbs 18:15

As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his foolishness. Proverbs 26:11


The next time you blow it, don’t beat yourself up. Instead, ask the following:

  1. Why did this happen?
  2. What can I learn from this?
  3. How can I prevent this from happening again?
  4. How can I use this knowledge to help others?

By asking these questions, you are modeling wisdom and humility. You are positioning yourself to grow through the pain instead of allowing it to hold you back.

Falling down is just part of moving forward. It happens to the best of us. So dust yourself off, learn what you need to, and keep going.

One thought on “In Defense of The Hard Way: Part 2”

  1. I think we learn most, if not all, things by trial and error and mistakes (big or small). If I do something perfectly the first time it’s 1) rare and 2) not very memorable. Learning is formed in the process and in the untangling of what didn’t work, but leaving is hardly formed in perfect execution.


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