Leap Year Lesson #342: Sometimes We Need To Learn the Same Lessons Over and Over

Posted: December 8, 2012 in Learning
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Lessons Learned - EmersonWhen I posted my last lesson about saying yes to saying no, I suspected that I had already posted something on the topic earlier.  A search of the blog yielded the lesson from January 5 – Learn to say no.  There is a lot of similarity in the posts, although they aren’t exactly the same.

In fact, I thought at first, “I can’t do this; I already wrote a lesson on that subject.”  Then it occurred to me that even if the main takeaway from January 5 was similar to yesterday’s, it is a cold, hard truth that the lessons we learn don’t always stick with us, and even though our minds know something to be true, we don’t always act accordingly.  Thus we find ourselves re-learning the same lessons over and over again.

It would be good if individuals, organizations and businesses retained lessons learned, but too many do not.  I can think of a few scenarios where retaining what we learn (or the lack thereof) can make a huge difference:

  • In academics, the fact that we pass some test and get a grade at the end of a course is no guarantee that we recall or act in accordance with that knowledge months or years down the road.  How much of my college or graduate degree content do I remember?  Why should that qualify me for any job today?
  • In business, how often do leaders or groups repeat the same mistakes?  What will it take to document lessons learned, to disseminate that knowledge throughout an organization, and grow the corporate knowledge base so such mistakes don’t repeat?
  • In families and other relationships, do we try to learn from the past and improve relationships, or do we bounce along life’s bumpers reacting to present pressures like a pinball?

Science tells us we use a small fraction of our brain.  Maybe it’s time we use a little more of it to retain past lessons learned.

It isn’t just those who don’t know history who are doomed to repeat it.  It is also those who do know it, but fail to remember or apply it.

Leap year lesson #342 is Sometimes we need to learn the same lessons over and over.

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