"To make no mistakes is not in the power of man; but from their errors and mistakes the wise and good learn wisdom for the future." –- Plutarch“
This book is divided into two parts. The first part is autobiographical. It is the telling of my life story to this point. I do this to allow us both to understand my experience, exploring each strength and weakness to see what gave, and continues to give me hope.
Something that has always troubled me is the “image” that many people are given as the “standard” to live their lives by. What I mean is that as you study some of the great leaders of our time, what you will find, is that many times, these great leaders are portrayed as heroic figures who did nothing wrong in their lives. Rather than showing the strength and weakness of the individual, our historians have chosen to show us only one perception… a perception of what they believe to be the best of these people, and in doing so set up an ideal of who we believe we should be. In the first part of this book, I choose to lay myself before you completely, as a human being who made a lot of mistakes, and a lot of bad decisions.
I do this for this reason. It is my belief, that as we finally begin to teach our children that you need to embrace both strength and weakness and that mistakes are something to embrace rather than something to be embarrassed about, we will move into a whole new realm of consciousness. When you think about it, making mistakes is the only way we truly learn. And as we begin now, to teach our children that it is ok to make mistakes, as we teach them how to take the lessons from these mistakes and grow, as we teach them that there is no “perfect model” for how they should live, and that they are a creature of both strength and weakness… and that is ok… our whole culture will change.
Think about this for a moment. From our earliest lessons in school, we have been taught that failing is a “bad” thing. We were taught to applaud strength and weakness was to be hidden. When we did something wrong, we were punished. If we didn’t get the answer right, we got a big red mark on our paper. So what we ended up being taught was that rather than embracing the only way that we truly learn, which is through making mistakes, many of us were made to feel ashamed that we did not live up to some greater expectation. Those expectations could have been our parent’s, our teacher’s, anyone’s including our own.
I want to ask you a question. It’s an important one, so I want you to focus for a moment. Do you know of one human being who has been able to get up and walk the very first time that they tried? I need you to think about this a second. As an infant, we tried, we lost our balance, and we fell. But ultimately we became more determined. Even more importantly, the people that were around us encouraged us, they didn’t berate us saying, “No, no no!!! You did it wrong!!! Look at how Bobby and Susie do it. They do it right!!!” At least I hope that wasn’t your experience. We made the mistake and fell, got support from our parents, became inspired, and as a result, we learned.
What ends up happening for many people, is somewhere around kindergarten, making mistakes is no longer allowed. Mistakes become things that we are scolded for. The words that we begin to hear are, “You’re doing it wrong” rather than words of encouragement. No longer is it a matter of, “Ok, I fell. How could I do it better this time?” The new message we are given becomes, “This is wrong and this is right.” We begin to feel that if we make a mistake we are “less than”. What makes it even worse is that we are “compared” to those who are doing it “better than we are”. And what can be even more debilitating is that we begin to believe that we need to be right all the time to be worthy and deserving. I’ll go into the psychological aspects of this thought process later in the book, but for now, I want you to hold that thought in the back of your mind… the thought thatthe ONLY way that we truly grow is by making mistakes. As you continue to read this book, notice through my story where this lesson could have been applied in my life. And the more you see its affect, the more you will see how it applies in yours.
This same idea relating to strength and weakness applies in what we teach children about the “Icons” that we give them. George Washington, John F Kennedy, Martin Luther King, the list could go on forever. All of these are great men. What is important for you to look at is how historians and our educational systems choose to only teach the children one aspect of these historical figure’s lives. What you may find as you explore personal development on your own, is you may begin to accept that these ideas, that this old way of teaching sets up these very children we are supposed to be helping… in a way that limits them rather than supports them.
Instead of helping both their individual strength and weakness as a way to develop into strong and confident individuals, this pattern of creating unrealistic expectations makes it so that many of them do not fully reach their potential. When a child does make a mistake, which they will, rather than having a healthy reference that says, “You know what? George Washington had some rough spots in his life too. He made some serious mistakes, but look where he ended up.” Rather than having a true reference to Washington’s life and believing, “I can make it through too.” The majority of them begin to feel that they will never succeed because they are “less than” some fabricated expectation. Instead of being able to learn from another person that was human and had strength and weakness present in their character, and avoid similar pitfalls, or being inspired by another person who overcame difficulties to reach success, these children have it embedded into their unconscious mind that if they are ever going to be great as an adult they need to lead exemplary lives as children and teenagers.
So I have made the decision that in this book you will see it all. I will open up all of my life to you. You will see the struggles, the pain, the strength and weakness, the bad decisions and their repercussions. You will see sides of myself that many people have never seen, until now. In early releases, I have had some people tell me that as I personally opened up about some of these experiences it was too painful for them to continue reading because it stirred things in them that they were not ready to deal with. But I ask that you follow through and in doing so, you may find yourself seeing how these experiences and choices ultimately led me to where I am now. And as that happens, you can gain new insights into your own life, or possibly others around you, and come to a deeper realization that no matter what… there is ALWAYS HOPE!!!
In the second half of this book, I will be sharing with you some of the specific lessons I have learned from this journey, and the insights that I share now with others in my seminars, coaching sessions and through writing and performing my music. You will see a “Life Transformed”, and learn what distinctions allowed that transformation to take place… and continue to take place leading me to even more amazing experiences that I will share with you in Part 2.
The second half of this book is dedicated to “Hindsight is 20/20”. When we look at the past, with no attachment to it, only to observe, be open to the possibilities, and learn… Miracles occur.
Take a moment to prepare yourself. This is not your typical autobiography, and not your typical “self-help” book. I wrote this book in the same conversational language I would use if you and I were sitting together in a room right now. Sometimes, things may not seem to be “grammatically correct”, but then again, that was not my primary intention. I wanted to convey my life to you, the way I would to my best friend. It is my unique journey, and my perception of life that arose from this journey that I wish to share with you. So sit back, get ready now to open your mind to new ideas, and enjoy.
< Author's Notes Chapter 1:1 >
The Warrior Sage Chapter/Section
Who Is Willard Barth?
Preface - Exploring Strength And Weakness
Chapter 1:1 - The Process Of Self-Awareness
Chapter 1:2 The Stages Of Child Development
Chapter 2:1 - The World Changed Forever
Chapter 2:2 The Vicious Cycle Begins
Chapter 2:3 Losing Faith
Chapter 2:4 My Dark Secret
Chapter 2:5 Where Is the Love?
Chapter 3:1 Seeking Paths Of Acceptance
Chapter 3:2 The Road To Alcohol Dependence
Chapter 3:3 Leaving My Childhood Behind
Chapter 3:4 Escaping Responsibility; The Joy Ride Ends
Chapter 3:5 Living A Duality Begins
Chapter 3:6 Out Of Control
Chapter 3:7 Crossing The Line To Insanity
Chapter 3:8 The Black-out Drinking Begins
Chapter 3:9 Facing The Music
Chapter 3:10 A New Beginning
Chapter 3:11 More Lessons To Learn
Chapter 4:1 The Final Party
Chapter 4:2 A Moment Of Clarity
Chapter 4:3 My New Life Begins
Chapter 4:4 Sober - Time To Face The World
Chapter 4:5 The First Year Of Sobriety
Chapter 4:6 Major Change Comes In Year Two
Chapter 4:7 My Daughter Is Born April 20, 1992
Chapter 5:1 Life Changing Decisions Follow My Daughter's Birth
Chapter 5:2 Recognizing The Voice Inside
Chapter 5:3 The Empress Hotel
Chapter 5:4 A New Chapter In My Life Begins
Chapter 6:1 Finding My Way Home
Chapter 6:2 Falling Into Place
Chapter 6:3 A New Awareness
Chapter 6:4 Personal Finances And Personal Development
Chapter 6:5 The George Washington Story
Chapter 6:6 Letting Go So Others Can Grow
Chapter 6:7 The Wrap Up
Jump HOME from Strength And Weakness