“You’re going to be shot by a jealous boyfriend and I’ll learn about your death on the news one night.”
One of my good friends said this to me over lunch almost twenty years ago.
And he was right.
At the time I was recently divorced from my best friend and the woman I’d loved since I was fifteen-years-old. I wasn’t handling it well. In addition to drinking too much, I made harmful decisions about the relationships I became involved with. In part, this was done to protect myself but I’d also reached a point where I’d given up. In my pain and anger I decided it no longer mattered what I did and I tried to throw away my ideas of right and wrong.
The problem is that you always know. Deep down you know the truth. My conscience told me I was living a life deeply disconnected from my values. Unfortunately, I experienced many more years of pain before doing anything about it.
I’m particularly grateful to my wife, Jessica, for always believing I was a better man than she had reason to believe.
“never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense”
So why do I share this? Perhaps, like me, you’ve made your fair share of mistakes. You might be discouraged and feel like this is it, you can’t change, you just need to accept it and give up.
As you’ve likely heard me say, STAND magazine is for men who give a damn about being better men. It’s for men who are committed to the daily effort and who understand it takes time to walk along this path toward becoming the good men we aspire to be. We will stumble along the way, fall down, fail ourselves and those we love the most, and wander off the path from time to time. When we fall seven times, we will stand up eight times. The Biblical Proverb (24:16) notes that “though a righteous man falls seven times, he will get up.” Here we have the expectation that even good and righteous men fail.
Winston Churchill, in an oft-misquoted speech, urged his listeners to “never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never – in nothing, great or small, large or petty – never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense.”
This is the message of STAND: never give in, and never give up in your journey to become a good man.
We don’t have to be defined by our failures. We can get back up and learn from our mistakes.
The great tragedy is when we give up, stay down, and claim that we really don’t give a damn.