3 Lessons I Learned From a Cold Bath

About a year after my wife and I got married, we decided it was time to buy a house. Looking back on it now, 16 years later, we were not ready to buy a house. However, we thought we were so we looked, we found, we bought.


We both fell in love with a house in Nicholasville, Kentucky. We went through all the actions needed to buy a house like signing 1,263 papers, (exaggerating slightly). We moved in on a Saturday and I had a speaking engagement about 2 hours away the next day.

This was a unique house, to say the least. It was a house that needed some work, but we loved it. It had character. It had two bathrooms (my only request after living a year in an apartment with only one bathroom), one on each floor.


The upstairs bathroom had a shower that did not yet work and the downstairs had a beautiful cast iron claw foot bathtub. I don’t know about you, but I am a shower guy. I do not like to take a bath. I like for the water to beat the dirt off of me. I do not like sitting in a pool of water with all the dirt floating around me.

Like I said, the next day I had to get up early and travel to a speaking engagement. I was already aggravated because I had to take a bath instead of a shower. When I go to fill the tub and I realize we do not have anything to plug the drain.

I started looking for anything I could to stop the water from running down the drain. I tried a piece of rubber that was laying on the floor… that did not work. I tried stuffing a wash rag down the drain… that did not work. I even tried using a plastic cup…Duh! They float!! So, that did not work.

I never did get the water to stop running down the drain. But I did get it slowed down enough to fill the tub so I could take my bath. Although, by this time I had run out of hot water.

Here I was, already aggravated because I had to take a bath instead of a shower, shivering because I am all out of hot water, watching the dirt float around me while trying to hurry up before all my water runs down the drain.

chrome lever

All of the sudden I looked up at the front of the tub and I saw…..a chrome lever…

I reached up and pulled that chrome lever up.  Lo and behold the water stopped running down the drain!

Let me just say, it takes a pretty secure person to share a story like that! I also believe it is a good lesson for all of us.

Lesson 1:  Laugh at yourself

John Maxwell says, “You might as well laugh at yourself, everybody else is. Why not join them?” Do not take yourself too seriously.

Lesson 2:  We all make mistakes

One thing we all have in common is we all fail. Keep in mind that failure is an event it is not a person. We will fail. Sometimes we fail big and sometimes we just forget to pull up a chrome lever to stop the water from running down the drain. The important thing to remember is when you fail, you are not alone.

Lesson 3:  Learn from your failure

I can count on one hand how many baths I have taken since that day.  But the few times I have, I always look for a chrome lever at the front of the tub. Whatever your failure may be, learn from the experience. Failure is just an opportunity to begin again more intelligently.

Failure is not the end. In many cases, it may only be the beginning. Laugh about it; realize we all make mistakes; and ask yourself, “What can I learn from this?”

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_MG_6842cropTommy Lanham is a dynamic, award-winning speaker who has been training individuals and organizations to ignite their God-given potential for 25 years. With a unique blend of Ziglar motivation and ragamuffin faith, Tommy delivers powerful, life changing messages filled with humor, hope, and enthusiasm.

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