3 Life Lessons

Today I will follow an honoring invitation from fellow blogger Abubakar Jamil, on a topic very close to me: life lessons. Since life is already too short for all the things we’d like to do, I will skip any introduction.

1. You Gotta Live It To Settle It

The Story

When I was 18 I had to serve as a soldier for my country. 2 months after I started my service, a series of events, known today as the Romanian Revolution, took place. Without any previous warning, I found myself in the middle of a civil war. As a soldier, I had to protect my leader, the communist dictator Ceausescu. But as a free man, I wanted to follow the current, and support the groups who started to broke down one of the most stupid and perverted communist regimes in the Eastern Europe.

When the first signs of riots came to our military unit, I had to do my first shift as a guard. The schedule for guards was made weeks before. At that time, I thought that was the worst thing that could happen to me: why should I have to find myself in the middle of the field, with only 5 bullets (the maximum under the communist regime) trying to protect myself from the military intelligence who wanted to force us to fight and from the insurgents, who were thinking I was their enemy. It was one of the most intense, powerful, and, I admit it, one of the most frightening situations I ever experienced. Now, I think this was one of the luckiest moments of my life.

I didn’t sleep for 5 nights and 6 days. After this time, I was reborn. In just 5 nights and 6 days, the communist regime was down and almost the entire riot was finished. What initially looked like a long and wearing civil war ended in less than a week. Some of my army colleagues decided to withdraw from their duty, calling in sick and stacking up at the infirmary beds. I didn’t. I chose to stay there and face my fate. I stayed there, in the trenches and looked my own fears in the eyes. In the 6th morning, when one of my colleagues came in running, telling me that Ceausescu was captured, I felt reborn. And I really was reborn.

The Lesson

Avoidance is not a solution. Withdrawal is not a solution. Whenever life puts a violent crisis in front of you, live it. Be there, do your thing. Not only you will emerge stronger and wiser than before, but, most of the time, you’ll realize the crisis was much easier than you expected it. It wasn’t really such a big deal. As long as you dealt with it.

Read more about my experience as a Romanian soldier during the Romanian Revolution.

2. Understand Your Own Message

The Story

A few months ago,, my 4 year old daughter, Bianca, made a habit out of asking for my iPhone every morning. And every morning I gave it to her, hoping she will play some of the games we picked together. Every morning, after keeping my iPhone for a few minutes, she handed it back and went to spend her day as usual. After a few weeks, when I started my Notes app, I discovered some gibberish in it, apparently written the same morning.

I wasn’t the author of that sequence of letters, that’s for sure. It was something like “iauhdkajh skljah laskjhf”. I assumed that my iPhone was accidentally started in my pocket and moved over. But there was another note, with the date of the previous day. The same random letters and some numbers. And so was the day before, and the day before. Then it hit me: it was Bianca’s writing. This is what she was doing every morning with my iPhone.

When I asked her what she was writing, she answered in a second: “well, it was a few days ago, when we went to see a movie”. And this note, what was this for? “Well, when we went together in the park, don’t you remember?”. As we talked more about those notes I realized that Bianca was writing her own journal there. Her own book of life. Only it was in a very strange language for me. Without her help, I couldn’t understand it.

The Lesson

Don’t make assumptions. Be clear. Your book of life may sound ok for you, but other people may not get it. You gotta be sure everybody understands your message. Every time you experience some misunderstandings in your life, check your message first. Your message may be just a row of gibberish to the other person. Do your best to translate your message accordingly.

Read more about Bianca’s book of life.

3. You Don’t Really Have Enemies

The Story

Almost a year ago I started a blogging workshop. I announced it on my blog and through my professional and personal network. To my surprise, a lot of people expressed their interest in it. Although it was priced as a premium product, with 3 full days of teaching, practical lessons and live blogging, I had the spots filled in not only for the first (and the only one, in my mind) session, but for a second one too. To any of my personal standards, this project was a big success.

At the same time, the most visited blogger in Romania wrote a very negative review about this project. In fact, he wrote an entire negative blog post about my person. Apparently, I wasn’t able to open a computer, had no expertise whatsoever in blogging and the whole workshop was way to pricey. In other words, a scam. It wasn’t the first time when that blogger had an aggressive attitude towards me, he had very negative blog posts about me back when I had a network of niche websites in Romania.

I answered to that blog post with a comment detailing my position. For a few hours I was concerned about the whole story. Until I realized something I should have seen from the first second. I didn’t need any validation. The whole blog post proved something much more important (and subtle, for what matters): my actions created a real impact. A very big one, to be honest. Although that blogger positioned himself as an opponent, he really wasn’t one. He just showed me that he was afraid of what I did. He felt his position was threatened. (Of course, it wasn’t about himself and his line of business, because my workshop had a completely different approach to blogging, but that was not important anymore).

The Lesson

You have only friends. Some of them may teach you something in a very harsh way but they are still your friends. When somebody attacks you, don’t fall for your first reaction: defending yourself, excusing or even accusing the other part. This may mean you’re powerful beyond what you perceive and you must have scared the other person. Either way, the whole concept of enemy disappears in this approach.

***

Do you  have any other lessons to share? If yes, I’d be happy to learn yours either in the comments or in your own blog posts. There’s a whole lot of bloggers covering their life experiences in this series.



Running For My Life - from zero to ultramarathoner


The spooky thing about depression is that it sneaks in. There aren’t really trumpets and loud voices announcing: “Hail, hail, this is depression entering the room, all rise!” Nope. It’s slow, silent, creepy. It doesn’t even look like depression. It starts with small isolation thoughts like: “Maybe I shouldn’t get out today, I just don’t feel like going out”. And then it does the same next day. And then the day after that and so on. And then it starts to whisper louder and louder in your ears: “Why would you go outside, you loser? Didn’t have enough yet? Want more people to make fun of how much of a big, fat loser you are?”

And then you start to breath in guilt and shame, instead of air. Every breathe you take is putting more dark thoughts into your body.

Until you get stuck. You can’t move anymore. At all.

If you want to know how I got out of this space, eventually, check out my latest book on Amazon and Kindle.

Running For My Life -from zero to ultramarathoner

Dragos Roua

The guy who started all this. Entrepreneur, ultra-marathoner, tanguero, father and risk taker. I'm blogging here, but I also spend a lot of time in this marvelous space.. You're invited, by the way.

This Post Has 34 Comments

  1. Wow… Dude… Very wise.

    And I didn’t know you was a soldier? How terrifying.

    My biggest realisation to date has been understanding that we have absolutely nothing to lose by going for what we want.

    We’re sold the lie that happiness and well-being is found in money, success and other tangible achievements.

    In fact, well-being is our nature. When we tap into that, we lose the fear of living, and we start to create what we want.

    Hopefully your readers won’t have to experience being shot at before they realise that it’s cool for them to live however they want 🙂

    1. That was a nice one, I also hope the same thing: that my readers won’t have to endure the same thing I did, before realizing what they are up to. Tanks for the comment, mate 🙂

    2. wtf you didn’t know he was a soldier?!?! look at his pic. dragos is badass to the bone. with love. of course. 🙂

      “well being is our nature” – warm juicy feelings when i read that. could found a new religion on that. though that’d sorta contradict its message. cult maybe 🙂

  2. […] rest is here: 3 Life Lessons More on this:15 Life Lessons from The Bachelorette « tylerstanton.comSomething Stanton: life, […]

  3. Dragos, thank you so much for indulging us with your Life Lesson series! I have read 30+ of these posts as Abubakar has been following them and we are working on the ebook but I have never read such unique lessons and such a brave perspective. I was sure I had at least a few “enemies” but I like so much more to think of all of them as friends – perhaps friends who do not understand me, who assume wrong things about me or who simply are afraid of something or another and manifest that in their reaction. Thank you SO MUCH for such fantastic lessons.

    1. I thanks you for insisting so much on me with this post. Truly if it wasn’t for you maybe this post would have been delayed way beyond your accepted time frame 🙂

  4. Dragos,

    Thank you for being a part of the Life Lessons Series and coming up with such an insightful post.

    I am sure it is a valuable contribution and the readers of the Life Lessons and the upcoming book based on this series, many people will benefit from your words.

    Please know that your contribution means a lot to me. Thank you again.

    1. I thank you for inviting me and also for your patience. I felt great when writing this. Whenever I’m invited to write for somebody else’s project I feel this way 🙂

  5. In regards to the blogger who attacked you Dragos, I always say people like that can only affect me if I allow them to do so. They have absolutely no power in my world unless I give it to them. By calling him a friend as you did, you took his power away.

    Cheers and thanks for the post!

    1. Absolutely, they can hurt you only if you allow them to. But that doesn’t mean their reaction is to be ignored. On the contrary, there are always reasons for those attacks and the more I’m aware of that fact, the more those attacks are just lessons. 🙂

  6. Hey Dragos!

    How are you doing? Your personal life lessons really hit home to me, I have yet to have children, but when I do… I do hope that my kids do something extraordinary as creating their own Book of Life.

    Congrats on everything you have endured that has only made you Stronger.

    -Parker

  7. Thank you so much for sharing the personal stories that went with your lessons. I would add to the list “Don’t take anything personally” It kind of goes with the last 2 of your lessons. People have their reasons for doing what they do and I will never know them all.

    1. Yes, now that you pointed it, I see it too. It’s about not taking it too personally and not putting your ego too much out there. A little flexibility can make you incredibly stronger. 🙂

  8. I think there will always be people who attack us. I think we also learn so much from them because they help us understand ourselves based on the reaction we have to their attitude. They are the ones who show us how strong we are.
    I’ve written many of my life lessons down in the form of a book. I think you have lots of interesting scenarios in your life. You should do so too if you haven’t already.

    1. That’s an interesting idea and yes, I wrote some of my stories in this form. What is on this blog though, is just scratching the surface. I do have stories, like in real life stories, that nobody believe that are true. Sometimes I even doubt myself about that. But no, they are true 😉 And sometimes I may start sharing on this blog too. Many of them are about relationship (knowing that one of your blogs is called myrelationshipsupermarket.com 😉 )

  9. Hey Dragos,

    Getting attacked online just means that you are now big time. After all, you can’t please everybody and everyone has their own agenda. I also had no idea that you were a soldier. Great article Dragos. I love how you intertwine your experiences with life lessons.

    1. yes, you’re right, you’re only attacked when you’re a target. Part of the lesson too, I suppose 🙂 Thanks for being around, I really appreciate it 🙂

  10. Dragos, I’m so happy to read your lesson about how no one is an ‘enemy.’ This is such an important fundamental truth that could transform the world if we could all take it to heart. Enemies are usually our best teachers so in that way they are our best friends. Also, the whole nature of ‘friend’ and ‘enemy’ is so changeable. If you observe your life you see that sometimes your worst enemy can become your best friend and vice versa. So it’s ridiculous and unhelpful to solidify anyone as an enemy. This is truly wise advice.

    My biggest life lesson is understanding emptiness and appearance, in other words, the nature of reality.

  11. Hi Dragos,
    Those are some very powerful lessons. Well done. I especially enjoyed the first one. I too have found that we all have an amazing capacity to face any challenge that confronts us. I’ve always believed that if we could not handle it would not show up. And like you, once you get through it we realize it wasn’t that bad… and we would never trade in the lesson we gleaned from the experience.

  12. Dragos, I also found myself in a similar situation with your third story some years ago when after the company where I worked crashed, one of my collegues (and one of my best friends) tried to made my life miserable for a long time by telling to other people stories about me and my collegues.

    For a lot of time I tried to fight against this, till one day I realized it’s not my war and started to ignore it. Now I feel much better and don’t worry about, I’m only very sorry I lost a friend.

  13. Powerful life lessons. I love the story about your daughter’s journal. I read that before here, and I liked hearing it again. My own 4 year old daughter draws lots and lots of pictures. Each picture tells a story, and I love seeing her latest creations.

  14. Hi Dragos,

    Those are some interesting life lessons (the 2nd has been etched in my memory since I read your post on it :)).

    As for the 3rd lesson, I’ve realized that I sometimes anticipate and prepare for a confrontation when there really isn’t one. Many people believe that they are doing the right thing, but don’t know what that is! Even soldiers believe they’re serving their countries, when they may only be furthering the agenda of a dictator.

    I often have compassion towards those who hurt me, because they have issues to deal with. Otherwise, they wouldn’t behave the way they do. And do I want to fuel their aggression and agitation, or let it cool off? The latter seems wiser.

    Having said that, I prefer to keep a distance from those who wish to achieve success at other people’s expense, or are inconsiderate of other people’s feelings. There’s no need for me to bring agony into my life. 🙂

  15. Dragos,
    Wow, I loved this – and especially your first lesson. What an experience, and in that also, what an amazing lesson. It really is about living the moments of our life….the good and the challenging (and you exemplify that!).

  16. Hi Dragos, this is a great post with some powerful lessons in it. With regards to the 3rd lesson: As you have made yourself successful you’ve also made yourself a bigger target, and the attacks on you prove that others have noticed you and thought you important enough to write about – Well done 🙂

  17. I really appreciate the format of this post. Taking life stories (from a wide variety of experiences) and summarizing with a strong lesson learned. I couldn’t imagine the terror of that week in the riot… it really puts other experiences in perspective. You’re right… you become something bigger, something stronger, something wiser, something more when you face your challenges and flow through them.

  18. I really liked this post and its focus on being present and staying present in the face of challenges of all kinds. Many show up…few stay…fewer still stay till the end. Well done. 🙂

  19. Dragos you legend 🙂

    really really loved this. could feel that you actually care about what you’re saying. and that’s the most important part.

    story about your daughter was beautiful. wasn’t sure where it was going for a sec but really loved your message.

    same with “you don’t really have enemies”. enemies are friends with their pants on backwards.

    hope all’s well mate.

    keep it real and in touch
    alex

  20. Thank you for the lessons, specifically number 3. I do get a lot of criticisms from people and it’s hard not to defend one self. But as you mentioned in your post, one does not need validation. One does not need to please every single person here. While there are those that criticizes what we do, there are also others that benefit from our work.

    Thank you for this inspirational read.

  21. So much Informatin in only 3 valuable lessons. They are very usefull lesson i may say. Full of wisdom. I really enjoy reading things like this since they help me find my own purpose in life and i feel glad that other people care about people who are on the verge of being someone in life.

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