A Lesson Learned Doesn't Always Work

Good judgment comes from experience,

and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.

- Will Rogers

As we grow up, whether we’re 15 or 35 or 55, the Will Rogers line directly above still applies. There will be many times that we have bad judgment, but then learn from those experiences. However, most people don’t ever brush over what they’re getting out of those experiences. Sure, we use what we learn in other situations down the road (hopefully), but when you’re using what you’ve learned do you think about whether it’s relevant?

Just because you learned a lesson from one experience doesn’t mean it applies to all situations in directly the same way. For instance --

  • Someone being “walked over” because they were afraid to speak-up or be more assertive. They often walk away hurt and feel like people are trying to take control of them. They start trying to control situations and being stubborn. What they really need to learn is simply when it’s appropriate to confidently voice their opinion and when to go with the flow and how to do it tactfully. Not everyone is “out to get them”
  • A parent talking about how they were raised and therefore raising their child in the exact same way. Or kids talking about what their parents do differently and it’s like a little competition. What people forget is that every child is different. You don’t get chocolate chip cookies out of the recipe for peanut butter ones. Even then you’re most likely going to adjust it a bit to make it more to your liking. That’s why there’s more than one recipe for chocolate chip cookies!
  • When a new employee starts where you work, they are going to be on a thin line. If they were going to do everything the same as their old job, then they would have stayed at the same company. They aren’t though; this is new. Each unique situation requires a different response. A person from Microsoft would not do things the same way at Apple and vice versa. Each culture is different, just as each situation is. Sure, their knowledge will be there, but the way in which they utilize that knowledge is very different.

Although we can learn from our experience, we have to remember (and realize) when it’s appropriate to transcend what we learned into other life moments. Don’t let permanent changes take control. What do I mean by that?

“There must be a happy medium somewhere between

being totally informed and blissfully unaware.”

- Doug Larson

Simply because we learned a lesson or were hurt or overjoyed by a specific experience doesn’t mean we’re going to need to apply what we learned for the future in the exact same way, or that we’re going to feel the same way in a similar situation. Everything is a learning experience, but every experience is not exactly the same. Therefore, be aware of every situation you’re in and adjust accordingly.

Remember - Apply your wisdom wisely, not as an end all, be all. There’s always a learning opportunity!