‘lessons learned’. . .
People talk about ‘lessons learned’ all the time. What that seems to mean is that when something bad happens, sum up what you could have done differently to prevent that bad thing from happening again. When did this start?
In a way, jumping to make a list of ‘lessons learned’ can substitute for looking hard at what actually happened and process it before moving on to make things better the next time. Sometimes ‘lessons learned’ won’t help at all. When a biotech company I worked for found that clinical trials didn’t give the hoped-for results, none of our ‘lessons learned’ would have made a critical difference.
What about one’s life? What are the top three ‘lessons learned’ about your life up to this point? Here are mine off the top of my head while I am composing this post:
a) I’m not very sociable and have trouble trusting people; maybe because as a child, I was different from people around me and they gave me a hard time about it.
b) I like to explore the world every day. Cook new recipes, read, follow my curiosity to where it leads me. Pay attention to random things that happen and listen to the Universe. Maybe this is an antidote to a) above that began way back when.
c) I still have a lot to learn. I learn this lesson every time I am satisfied with something that I have done and it turns out to be disappointing in some way. Or, when I am down and out and help comes from an unseen source, cosmic or otherwise. That’s probably the biggest lesson that I have learned so far: that I am not alone after all. I guess that makes four big ‘lessons learned’ for me right now.
Plus, I am happier than I have been for most of my life so that’s a real learning experience that’s ongoing all the time.
So much for ‘lessons learned.’ What are some of yours?
one of the most important lessons i ever learned about creativity and making things in general came from my high school art teacher Mr. Sharpe…whenever i was working on a drawing or painting that had gone awry, he would say, “take it to the sink.”
he taught me that no piece of art is completely irredeemable, and by extension that there is no shame in imperfection. for a straight A student who tried to do everything well, this was more than a lesson, it was a glimpse into a life philosophy.
many times in my 30-some years, i’ve whispered these words to myself, knowing that if i “took it to the sink” i would be able to wash away the murky colors, reuse a bit of what was good to begin with, remake something of it, and surprise myself in the process.
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