Education always has a cost: time, pain, or cash. The degree to which we value something is tied to what it costs us to obtain. Value out = value in.

The biggest lessons are often learned when we pay the biggest price. Failure is a waste of energy, time, or other assets unless we learn from it. So is spending money without taking advantage of what you bought.

Like experiences or training courses. Or that lovely magenta blouse you practically stole, but never wore. One reason to clean out your closet each Spring is to get rid of the evidence.

I am easily motivated to do something lest I be guilty of waste. Which are you most likely to use, a free ticket or one that set you back $100? A blouse you got for peanuts or one you had to budget for?

It’s oft been said that things are worth what you pay. Sometimes true, sometimes not.

Obstacles and Challenges

The photo in Simplicity Note #10 is from an equine ministry event. Failure can be motivating. Watching someone else is educational. Everyone in the picture failed to accomplish the simple challenge of getting the gray horse to walk across the tarp.

It’s not a difficult task. The horse is well trained and used to working with a variety of people in group situations. To make it easier, folks worked in teams.

Each team failed. Three teams. Three different horses. Three failures.

The question I’ve just been asked is, “Can you do it?”


“Can you show us how?”

That’s when I know the lesson will sink in. Failure, especially when it’s unexpected, is a great motivator for committed people.

For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope. – Romans 15:4

I’ve learned over the years that watching me demonstrate how to do something right isn’t as meaningful as watching others do the same thing wrong. Think about it. When a friend tells you about her troubles, it’s easy to see the big picture and offer great advice. Few have the ability to offer great advice to themselves.

When you observe mistakes others make, learn from them. You can also learn from seeing something wonderful. Watch. Observe. Reap the collateral benefits of failure. Your mistake may be precisely the lesson someone else needs today.

Emulate what is delightful.

The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you. – Philippians 4:9