Herald Journal Columns
August 14, 2006, Herald Journal

Did you really learn a lesson?

Some people seem to have all the answers.

There is an elite species of people out there who always seem to know what they are talking about.

They may not have experienced everything in life, but they can sure tell you what you’re doing wrong and how to improve it.

I know one of them . . . she’s my best friend.

And no matter how many times I tell myself that I will listen to her advice, I find myself listening to it, but not following it.

We people who are not always right tend to not believe the people whom we know will always be right.

They tell us that we should not do something, and what do we do?

We don’t listen to them.

Shouldn’t we have learned by now that these people are always going to be right, and that listening to them is the best solution to any problem?

I’m just wondering how many mistakes I’m going to make before I finally learn my lesson.

OK, maybe I do learn the lessons, but I don’t learn to follow them.

Wait, I’ll try to make this more clear . . .

Say you take your driver’s test the first time, and you fail. Then, you tell yourself that you’ve learned your lesson, you know what you did wrong, and next time you’re going to pass.

Telling yourself this seems to help, so you get more confident the second time around.

The second time you try, you end up failing again. (And no, this isn’t a story about me. I didn’t fail my driver’s test twice . . . only once).

You’re confused because you had learned your lesson and you knew what you needed to change.

But, since you learned your lesson the first time, you should have passed, right?

Wrong. You may have learned the lesson, but you did not listen to what you needed to improve or change, nor did you act upon those changes that should have been made.

So, the only way that you can achieve something after you have failed is to learn the lesson, and make the changes necessary to improve the results that you want to acquire.

See? I sound like I’ve got all of these things figured out; however, that is quite wrong.

I can’t even learn my lesson when it comes to spending time outdoors.

I have been told time and time again to wear sunscreen when I go outside.

Yes, OK, that fact has entered my brain . . .

Go outside: “Oh it isn’t so bad, I won’t get burned.”

Stay outside for hours and hours: “Oh no, I’m looking rather red.”

Later that night: “I guess I should have listened to those people, who are always right, that told me to wear sunscreen. Maybe I would be able to twist and turn without an agony of pain if I had.”

Oh well, I learned my lesson, I will wear sunscreen next time.

Two weeks later: “I’m going to go outside and tan.”

Several hours later: “Ouch, I should have worn sunscreen, my shoulders are burning with pain.”

See? A lesson was learned here, but it was not followed.

My case in point, when you “learn a lesson,” whether it be from a relationship, from failing a test, or from burning your fair skin, remember to act upon that lesson you have learned, and correct the things that went wrong.

Most of all, listen to those friends who always seem to be right.

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