I heard this phrase the other day and it’s been rattling around in there ever since. What can I say? There’s a lot of room in there. I’ve heard it off and on over the years, and I’ve never really given it a second thought, but this time it really struck me. Why? Probably a lot of reasons. All I know for sure is that I have been giving a lot of things extra thought lately…
So, anyway, “Live & Learn” is used quite often, and I think it is used for a few different reasons:
Encouragement – You see someone who really gave their best effort at something – really put it all on the line and came up short. “I’m very impressed at how you handled that defeat. Live and Learn! I know you’ll get it next time!”
Discouragement – You see someone set a goal and fall short. Then they just settle into the mindset of failure. When you ask them what happened they just say, “I don’t know. Won’t try that again. Live & learn, you know.”
Passive Aggressive – You do something nice for someone with all the best interest at heart, but something doesn’t work out exactly the way that person hopes it would. Then the person who is visibly upset says a nice thing that has a veiled dissatisfaction, “Wish we hadn’t done that. Oh well, live and learn.”
There are a lot of things that we say in life that we never really think about. Little phrases that are spouted off without thought, and I know I am guilty of it too. The problem is the things I say without thought are often heard by people who are thinking. This causes hurt that could have been avoided with just a few seconds of thinking before speaking. (A problem I have had since I was just a lad…)
So, since I am committed to Relentless Growth, I want to think more about the things that fall out of my mouth, making sure they fall through some type of a filter between brain and eye teeth! So, here are my thoughts about “Live & Learn.”
Living things are growing things. If we are to be truly alive then we are going to be looking for opportunities to grow. It might be education, relationships, physical strength, financial security, but always moving toward growth. Being better than I was the day before, and committed to not settling for a life that is spent looking back. It is not always easy. Frankly, it would be a lot easier to just sit still and do nothing to improve. I tell my kids that the hard thing is usually the right thing. Living is hard, but it is better than giving up. Giving up is not something I want to do.
I think there is value in looking back because you need to look back at the mistakes you made in life. I’ve done a lot of that over the last 5 years. In doing so I have made the decision not to live there or to live out of the pain of those mistakes. Instead I look back to learn which direction I need to grow. Growth is good, but it needs to be based on wisdom gained from the things that we have gone through. Those focused, intent looks back to the past give us the opportunities to see, in hindsight, the weaknesses we may have, the strengths we could have used for a better result. We take those and pull together our plan, the next steps that will keep us moving to the most important thing – the thing that we never put into that little phrase…
We live and we make mistakes. We learn from mistakes. Next time, if we learned and choose to keep living, we might not make that mistake again. We don’t need to live in our past (not living). We don’t need to look at where we are and accept it (not learning). We need to purpose to be relentless in our growth and look at every single thing in our life as an opportunity to Live & Learn for the next time. We always get one if we make the effort to look for it.
Live & Learn for the Next Time!