One of the most frustrating lessons I have learned in my career is the learning that getting insight on a particular situation is, all too often, not enough. We believe that if we can just understand something, things can change. Sometimes this happens. Sometimes you get to finally understand something and you never think the same way about it again. Often, however, you finally understand something and either a) you forget the insight or b) you don’t do anything about it.

Therapy and coaching can be extraordinarily useful to go through. But only if we actively do something with the insights that we get. After going through your relationship patterns in the past, you finally realize why you behave the way you do. You understand your toxic trait. But that isn’t enough. Just knowing why you do what you do can help but you also need to remember it and apply it moving forward.

There are a few lessons we can learn from this. First, hearing something over and over again can often be the smartest and best use of your time. Many people, when learning a topic, seem to have little patience for any form of repetition. They will say ‘I get it. Next…’ when indeed they might understand it but they don’t ‘get it’. In order to ‘get’ something, you must ‘have’ it which means ‘it’ must stay with you. Hearing something multiple times helps make it more likely that you will, indeed, ‘get’ it. At least for now.

The second thing to remember is that we also need to remind ourselves of this insight. Like everything we learn, we build connections in our brain that are reinforced over and over again. Spaced repetition involves repeating a study session on a topic separated by days, weeks or even months at a time. The idea is that reviewing a piece of material every now and then helps internalize the material long term.

Third, most insights are not really helpful unless they lead to new actions. Always try to ask yourself what does that insight do for you? How can you change your behavior moving forward as a result of the insight so that you can get better results? Be clear of specifically what those actions are and schedule or plan to execute them accordingly.

So, a reminder of what to do whenever you learn something new:

  1. Write it down and go over the material a few times to really cement it and understand it vividly.
  2. Set aside time in the future to review these ideas.
  3. Define a clear action plan on how you will implement what you have learned.

The universe is full of incredible opportunities to learn. We need to invest those lessons in the future. When we do, our worlds will get infinitely better.




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