The Greatest Lesson is to Learn Your Lesson
"Change before you have to." - Jack Welch
Recently, I asked a fellow personal development enthusiast to tell me what is the best book that he's ever read in the personal development field. He told me
Follow Your Heart
by Andrew Matthews. As corny as the cover and title of this book may seem, it's really good and it has taught me something that is probably one of the best things I've ever learned.
Are you ready to hear it?! Here it is:
LIFE IS ALWAYS TEACHING YOU A LESSON.
I know, I know. You know this already so where's the epiphany? Well, there's another part to this principle that doesn't get as much attention. And it is:
...THE LONGER YOU TAKE TO LEARN THE LESSON, THE HARDER YOUR LIFE WILL GET.
Here's an excerpt from the book to illustrate this fact:
We are continually being presented with lessons.
Unless we learn the lessons, we get to take them again...and again...and again.
If we are miserable, it's likely we've missed a lesson.
We are not here to be punished. We are here to be educated. Every event has the potential to transform us, and disasters have the greatest potential to change our thinking. ACT AS IF EVERY EVENT HAS A PURPOSE, AND YOUR LIFE WILL HAVE PURPOSE. Figure out why you needed an experience, conquer it, and you won't need it again.
Once we have learned the lesson, we move onto the next one.
What are some examples of this? Well, you know your friend who
has the same relationship issues no matter how many times she finds someone new? And the co-worker who keeps getting into debt? And the relative who loses weight, gains it back, loses weight, then gains it back? These are examples of people who are not recognizing the lesson that life is teaching them. So every year they must repeat the same lesson again and again.
The thing is, at first when our lessons come to us, life is subtle about it - sending us little messages and nudges. If we are living in consciousness and awareness, then we can pick up the lesson quickly, conquer it and thereby uplift our mindset and experience of life to a higher level as we move onto the next lesson. But most of the time, we're not living in awareness. We're too busy trying to make it through the day, trying to survive and keep our heads above water. I think that moving into a place of awareness is like thinking "Hey, I've been treading water for a long time and my legs hurt. I'm expending all this effort and I'm getting
. In fact, pretty soon I'm going to drown if I keep doing this. Hmm, I should try something different. I should swim! Wow, now I feel like I'm making progress."
In other words, it's worth it to stop and think, "What is life trying to teach me right now in my life, in this moment?" Life is
sending you a lesson. Ever feel like the current year isn't too different from the year before? That's a surefire clue that you haven't learned your lesson.
At first, the lesson, as I said, is subtle. But if we're not awake to it, not only do we have to repeat that lesson over and over, but as time passes life stops tapping on our shoulder and starts whamming us over the head because our lack of receptivity is telling life that we need a huge, disastrous wake-up call in order to pay attention. Think about it. All of the big, messy parts in your life didn't just attack you out of the blue. I'm sure if you look back, you could probably identify hundreds of little hints and clues signaling you that there was something you needed to learn...but didn't.
So carve out time - a minute, a day, a whole weekend even - and face your lesson. How do we do this? A good start is to ask yourself, what are you resisting in your life right now. What are your fears? Make this a regular self-examination practice and you'll be sailing thru the lessons that life gives you. This is such an amazing thing to achieve when there are so many people out there who are still struggling with lessons that they simply refuse to learn. You know these people. They're the ones who never
, who are always complaining about the same problems year after year, who are behaving like victims in their own lives.
Do you want next year to be better than this year? Are you tired of dealing with the same issues, the same fears? Decide to quit treading water in the same stupid spot and start swimming toward a better life. Learn your lessons!