Flashback to my kidhood . . . I’ve just made some error or mistake, and I am being made aware of that error by one of my parents. At the end of the conversation, they ask me . . . Did you learn your lesson?
I’m guessing that my flashback is your flashback too – that someone in your life has asked you that question once or perhaps on many occasions – Did you learn your lesson?
Questions are a powerful tool, and when others have asked you this question, I’m guessing their intention was to help you learn something (a noble intention), even if you took the intention as a bit less noble.
There are two basic problems with my flashback:
- I typically was asked the question only after a mistake – as if there is only something to learn when we mess up.
- The question really only begs a yes or no answer – not a description of the lesson itself
So let’s tweak our flashbacks before we create them for others – and expand the usefulness of the idea.
Look for lessons all the time, not just after a mistake. Did something go well today? Look for the lessons – what do we need to repeat to get those results again?
Make the question more open and powerful. Suggestions could include:
- What is the lesson that you learned?
- What worked?
- What will you do the next time you are in that situation?
The questions aren’t just for others. Yes you can ask these questions of other to help them learn, and you will become a more intentional learner when you ask yourself these questions more regularly.
There is always lesson in our daily life experiences, large and small. Yet there is no guarantee we will learn from them – the learning only comes with reflection, and the right questions.
To become the leader and person you were born to be, ask these questions more often and more intentionally.
So, what is your lesson?
A final note: The use of the flashback here was meant for literary purposes – while I know my parents asked me that question in those situations, they aren’t alone – I’ve done the same thing myself, with my kids and others. Hopefully this post helps me learn my lesson and ask a more powerful and helpful questions of myself and others in the future.