For years I asked my grandson “What did you do today?” I now ask “What did you learn today?” He doesn’t always have a ready answer but he’s beginning to adopt the new mindset. When he does answer, it’s usually something like the “80 moons of Jupiter”, or a new phrase in Spanish. I accept those answers but I’m pressing him to also notice what’s he’s learning about himself, others, and life in general. Recently he answered, “I learned that a few of my classmates aren’t very kind.” Now that’s a good lesson to learn.
I’ve asked my staff to write down, every day, something they have learned. At the beginning of our weekly staff meetings we take a few minutes to share what we have learned the previous week.
Life is full of valuable lessons but we won’t notice them or learn from them unless we train ourselves to spot them, write them down, and talk about them. Relative to “spot them,” please read my post titled Frequency Illusion —we notice things that are top-of-mind, so make learning something every day a priority. Relative to “write them down,” thoughts are codified and easier to remember when we write them down. When I have a significant thought but don’t write it down, it’s gone by the end of the day. Our thoughts are also solidified by sharing them with others. Recruit someone with whom you can share what you’ve learned and reciprocate by listening to what they have learned.
Dawson Trotman taught, “Thoughts disentangle themselves when they pass through the lips and fingertips.”
If you’re truly engaged in life there will always be lessons to learn—every day. We can learn from others (why did Liz Truss’s tenure as Prime Minister of England last only 44 days?), from our own experiences (I recently hired an attorney to write our will but didn’t get a price estimate before we started; bad mistake), from reading (I learned a lot last week from reading Why We Argue (And How We Should) by Aikin and Talisse, from listening to podcasts, and through intentional conversation with others.
Every day, be aware of learning moments, slow down when you experience one, record it in a journal, and process it with a friend. This can be a life-changing, life-enhancing habit.
So…what did you learn today?