When you lose, don’t miss the lesson

This is a saying from the Dalai Lama and it is so true.

Expanding this saying out, what it also means is that if you also lose, you need to think about what the lesson was and learn it. You need to be careful not to make the same decision process again, or the same mistake again.

I often think life is like a train going up a hillside. As the train moves up the hill, there are little steel "back stops", which drop down onto the track to prevent the train taking a backward slide should anything fail.

It is the same in our lives, if you identify what you did wrong, or how you got "caught", you need to ensure that you never make that mistake again. Put in place the structures so your "train" can't fall backwards down the track.

You may wonder how this really applies to life. Some examples might include touching a hot element or electric fence. You tell your brain never to do that again. It is amazing how a tactile response will stay with you forever.

Emotional and mind responses are a little harder. An example might be running out of money because you have spent it all. The message to yourself should be "don't spend all the money, leave some in reserve". Because it is a mind response, the lesson is not as easily learned and often it doesn't stay with us so well.

If you have been in a partnership that has ended up grumpy (most do), remember the lesson - never go into partnerships again. I see farmers go through three matrimonial divisions of assets before they realise that they need a family trust to protect their farming assets. Why didn't they learn the lesson the first time?

The same applies to the fairer sex too. If you have a matrimonial, put your assets in a family trust to protect them for you and your children's future against claims by other parties.

Another good example is in relationships. If you see the same issues coming up in your staff relationships, then you know you need to take a look at yourself. In personal relationships we may see a pattern of behaviour from our partner repeating itself in front of us. I know because I have seen it and I realised it was me that had to change. Learn the lessons so these patterns don't keep repeating.

There are many examples on the farm too where we need to make a mental note to learn the lesson. My brother and I often talk about "roving management". As the owner and operator of a business, it is part of your role to oversee and watch out for mistakes and problems before they arise. You need to be ready to prevent things going horrible wrong, rather than cleaning up the mess later. Lean the lessons before things go wrong.

It is something we can teach our children too. Rather than having our children make repeated mistakes without learning lessons from them, children need to be taught at a young age, before they get full of testosterone and progesterone. As they come out of that hormonal excess period, they may start to learn lessons again.

The ability to learn a lesson, put in blocks and never make the mistake again is common with successful people. Successful farmers are even bigger lesson learners, as there are so many decisions and lessons to learn.

In summary, when you lose, don't miss the lesson. We need to change the way we process information so we don't make the same mistake again. It is also important to realise we will learn tactile lessons more easily, but mental lessons take a lot longer. The ability to learn the lessons quickly will put us well ahead of the pack.


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