On the Receiving End: Lessons Learned?

My dear friend, Bill Prenatt of Simply Successful, commented on a recent post saying “I really appreciate the way that you apply every day activities into learning lessons!” My response was that there are many lessons everyday, but we’re often too busy to take note of them.

While I believe my statement to be true, it isn’t very helpful for anyone who wants to convert everyday activities into lessons learned. I’m going to remedy that today.

Too busy?

We’re going to begin with the mistaken belief that we’re too busy. Being too busy means that we’re not making conscious choices about how to use our time. If you doubt that, recall a time when there was something you really wanted to do. What did you forego in order to engage in that activity?

Notice that I didn’t ask whether you’d foregone something else, I asked what you’d foregone. If it’s something you wanted to do badly enough, you found the time to do it.

Desire

In the previous section, we discovered that when we desire something sufficiently, we find a way to get what we want. The question is “Do you desire the ability to extract lessons from everyday activities enough to set aside time to learn these lessons?”

Before you answer that question consider this, the lessons I learn, that seem to amaze others, also provide me with insights that afford me greater influence and a multitude of opportunities. If influence and opportunity are important to you, here are tips to help you garner more from life’s everyday lessons.

Learning Lessons

Fortunately there is always more than one path to any given destination. The following is but one path for you to consider. If another path feels better to you, by all means take it.

Here’s what’s helped me develop a reputation for seeing things in everyday life that amaze others:

  • A conscious choice to set aside time everyday to reflect on what’s transpired.
  • Asking my subconscious mind “What am I going to see or experience today that will help me in some other aspect of my life?”
  • When my subconscious mind converts an experience into an insight…a lesson learned, I take a few moments to make note of it. Often these become topics for my For Our Kids blog. Writing the post solidifies the concept for me and makes it more memorable.
  • I share what I’ve learned every chance I get…enhancing my memory of the lesson learned.

For some of you writing a blog post has no appeal. Instead you might create a voice memo on your phone and replay it periodically, convert the lesson into a speech that you give time and time again, or you may prefer to write a personal journal. The only thing that matters is that you choose something you enjoy doing so that you become consistent in this daily activity.

Finally, don’t feel guilty if you consciously choose not to engage in the activity on any given day. Let’s face it, life happens. You or your kids may get sick, the car may break down, your child’s teacher wants to talk to you, your boss comes up with a last minute deadline.

These are usually rare, infrequent occurrences although recently dear friends have experienced prolonged family health issues that disrupted their lives for months. Foregoing this routine in favor of dealing with life’s challenges makes sense. Although there are still lessons to be learned from these experiences, you may want to wait until a later time, when things are less hectic, to record the lessons you learned.

One of the things I’ve observed is that these friends have become more conscious in their decision making. Their choices about what to do and when to do it are more well thought out and made more consciously. Of course, some of their normal routine was foregone due to the demands of the health issues, but they learned what’s important and what is simply nice to do.

For you

If you’d like to extract more beneficial lessons from everyday life…lessons that will help you for decades to come, that will amaze others and gain influence and attract opportunities…adopt a plan like the one I outlined above and make it a daily habit.

It doesn’t require a lot of time. There are days when my subconscious mind presents a lesson and all that I do is capture it as a preliminary title for a blog post. That effort requires only a few seconds to lay the groundwork for deepening my understanding and strengthening my memory of the lesson which occurs when I do get around to writing the post.

For our kids

When kids see you taking time to reflect and the benefits you gain from that…especially if you share with them what you learned…they too will become more reflective, more introspective and more consciously aware of who they are and what works best for them. That’s a gift worth giving.

I love hearing your thoughts and experiences, please share your thoughts below.

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2 Responses

    • Dale Furtwengler

      Bill, I have an inherent dislike for advice that doesn’t come with a process for employing it. My reaction to advice like that is “Hmmm, makes sense. How do I do that?” I try to provide the how along with the advice. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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