We all are all constantly learning, whether it’s conscious or unconscious. We pick some things up easily, but other things need a bit more reinforcement before the skill or lesson truly sticks in our mind!
One example for me is that I have a bad sense of direction. It takes me many journeys before I can learn a route without needing to follow a sat-nav! I can picture different locations but I find it hard to build a map in my mind of how they link up.
Is there something that you find difficult to learn? Or something that you pick up easily compared to most other people?
Writing lessons down
I keep a journal where I write down things that I learn throughout my day. These include practical things such as how to solve a particular computer problem or the best place to buy a certain item, but they also include more personal lessons too. If I make a mistake, I try to find the lesson in it rather than just feeling bad. I write down what I can learn from what happened, and how I can do better next time.
By writing down the things I learn, it helps to reinforce them in my mind so that I am less likely to make the same mistakes again. My journal also serves as a physical reminder that I look through from time to time.
Sometimes I need to write the same lesson down several times before it really sticks in my mind. But generally, after a while, I feel as though I have ‘mastered’ that particular lesson and I no longer have to consciously think about it.
But I still make mistakes!
Even when I have mastered a lesson, there are times when I have a setback or make a certain mistake again. This frustrates me because I think, ‘Hey, I thought I had mastered that, why am I now making that mistake again?’.
Human nature means that we can never be ‘perfect’, and no matter how well we master a skill, we will sometimes make mistakes. Nevertheless, we can increase our chances of success by ‘fine-tuning’ our lessons! Let me explain this with a simplistic example.
Dressing suitably for walks
I go for a lot of walks, and in the past, I would often get caught out by wearing unsuitable clothes for the weather. Either I would be too cold and wish I had brought a jumper or coat, or I would be too hot and have to carry my coat for the rest of the walk. I soon learned to pay more attention to the weather before setting out on a walk and make sure to dress appropriately.
Nowadays, I always bring extra layers if I think it might get cold outside, and I sometimes bring a bag with me so that I can carry layers in there if needed. I make sure to wear shorts if it is hot, and jeans if it’s cold. I sometimes even wear leggings under my jeans if it is very cold!
I’ve pretty much mastered dressing suitably for the weather. Lesson learned! Right?
Of course, occasionally I get it wrong
Last week I went for a walk, and I wore jeans. The weather was ambiguous – it was cloudy and a bit chilly and it could have stayed that way or the sun could have come out. As it turned out, the sun soon came out and I ended up being boiling in my jeans and wishing I had worn shorts!
I was a bit annoyed with myself because I thought, ‘Hey, I thought I learned that lesson ages ago’. It was frustrating to ‘fail’ on something I had supposedly mastered months or years ago. But then I looked closer. What was it about that particular occasion that caused me to ‘fail’?
In this case, it was the ambiguity of the weather. What can I learn from this? If it is summer and the weather is ambiguous, it’s better to wear the cooler option (in this case, shorts) because if the weather gets hot, I will stay cool. And take layers – then if it does stay chilly I can layer up on my top half.
Write it down!
I made sure to write this down to make sure I remember it. It seems like such a little, obvious thing that surely wouldn’t need writing down, but all the little improvements in life can really add up!
Now that I have ‘fine-tuned’ that lesson for that particular scenario, I am even more likely to pick suitable clothes for my walks in the future.
More examples of lessons that could be fine-tuned
These are theoretical scenarios to demonstrate how lessons can be fine-tuned:
- You might be sensitive to a certain food, so you learn to avoid that food. Then one day your stomach gets upset and you realise that food was in the ingredients of a packaged food you consumed. You can fine-tune the lesson by learning to check packaging more carefully in future.
- You might discover that you function better the next day if you go to bed before midnight, so you learn to do that. Then, you have a few social occasions that go on past midnight and you end up feeling tired the next day. You can fine-tune the lesson by learning to organise your social meets to be earlier in the evening where possible.
- You might learn to value all your friendships and put more time and effort into them because then the friendships will grow and thrive. But then one day a certain friend treats you badly or takes advantage of you. You can fine-tune the lesson by learning to choose your friendships wisely and take a close look at which friendships are actually worth your time and effort.
Those are just a few examples, but any lesson can be fine-tuned in an infinite number of ways!
Fine-tune your lessons for the specific scenario
So, next time you ‘fail’ or have a setback on something you thought you already had sussed, don’t beat yourself up. Just look at the specific scenario and identify what was different about it that led to you ‘failing’, and ‘fine-tune’ your lesson!
Do you have any lessons that you thought you had mastered but find yourself slipping backwards on occasion? Do you think they could be fine-tuned to increase your chances of success? Let me know in the comments!