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Lessons learned - do they agree or conflict?

Friday, February 24, 2012

Kaligirl speculated yesterday in her response to my blog over whether we have to repeat lessons until we learn them. Interesting aspect of human life.

I work as a programmer (short version... I could get specific, but who would care?). One of the biggest challenges in programming and analysis is getting the requirements right. Why? Because often they are unstated, or implied, and the hearer "doesn't get" them, because the hearer can't read the mind of the person stating the requirement... only hear or read the words he or she is given. This can lead to bad programs and unhappy users! We've all seen that funny picture of "What the user wanted"... a tire swing hung off a tree by a single rope... going through progressive warps before it becomes three boards linked too closely together for anyone to sit on them, suspended by multiple ropes. What happened?

I'm thinking that some of these life lessons are similar. We actually have multiple forces at work in our psyches!

Let's take the obvious: we set out to lose weight. We succeed. What did we learn?

1. We learned that we CAN change our body size and shape through changing what we do.

2. We may have learned that we felt pretty good throughout the process.

But we may have learned some unstated things that may lead us to be unhappy users of the product (healthy habits). For example:

3. We may have learned that losing weight and changing our body size did not solve ALL our problems. We may have learned that we still had an unhappy marriage. Or an unhealthy job situation. Or ... fill in the blank.

This can be a discouraging lesson to learn, and sometimes it leads us to "give up" for a while, because we had unrealistic expectations of weight loss / fitness.

Lesson from regaining:
4. We may have NEEDED to learn that you have to keep up the behaviors to keep the weight off. Losing doesn't teach that lesson. Regaining does. But sometimes it is hard to convince yourself to start again because during loss you learned:

5. It takes hard work and determination and constant vigilence to lose. It takes those same things to maintain.

6. Maintaining a healthy weight depends on behaviors. For some people those behaviors are natural. For others of us, not so much... and we have to be "obsessive" about the habits to get the results.

Lessons learned during loss/maintenance:

7. We may have learned that we HAVE emotions we didn't want to acknowledge.

8. We NEEDED to learn and practice healthier ways of dealing with those emotions. For some people, those healthier ways are natural. For others of us... again, not so much... we need to keep ourselves fit in more ways than the physical to feel whole.

In short, we learned some lessons that support being healthy, and some that can discourage us... and until we're ready to accept the discouraging ones, and "do it anyway"... we will repeat the experiences.

Life is good... we are learning... and as long as we never give up... long term success is ours. emoticon
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