DailyPost 1989
The lessons we claimed to have learnt are barely reflected in practice. This is the tragedy of human existence. It is more  conspicuous in India. Our systems allow for being frivolous and get away with it. Leaders who don’t learn from their own mistakes are thrown into the dustbin of history. Where does the common man stand and what about the professionals? If we add up all lessons learnt in a Lessons Learnt Checklist, I don’t think there would be anything left to learn. How we got into this imbroglio where we proclaim to have learnt the harsh lessons of life or profession, but in reality, we have not. We have perfected the art of proclaiming that we learnt lessons, as it is both fascinating and fashionable.
Learning lessons out of life and professional setbacks is not an easy thing. Might be the best examples are immensely successful entrepreneurs, they have many failures and hardships before making it big. It is a necessity for them. Those are the lessons which can be termed as the stepping stones of their entrepreneurial success and glory. Professional journey apart, there are lots among them who have been faltering in their journey of life, making their personal life a matter of public debate, unnecessarily. These have been the lessons we need not learn, human history has the right lessons etched in stone, we just have to follow them, and people have great difficulty in doing that, knowing fully well that there cannot be a different trajectory of life.
Charles Duhigg in this book The Power of Habit has proved why we don’t learn lessons, leave aside practicing it. Lip service to a lesson, can be picked up from somebody else, or picked up from some good read, cannot fall in the category of lessons learnt. There is a world of difference between the two. Duhigg explores the science behind habit creation and reformation. ”The heart of habit is a mental, emotional, or physical routine.” Now you will find the meaning and backdrop which explains what we do. Having become well educated and civilized, we know what should be spoken and when, and it is in this category, the lessons learnt can be consigned to. When you are not ready to take up the challenge, how can it be translated to practice.
If you were to challenge any person, what has been the individual lesson he has learnt, conspicuous to him and how many of those picked up, did  he put into practice, you may find him gaping at you. Looking from an outsider’s angle, how many of the people around you, close to you, have you seen any tectonic change happen and that too for good. The lessons learnt that it would be proactive and worthwhile and mostly impress people around. Do we discuss lessons learnt in detail in families or in professional groups, amongst friends and well-wishers and make a game plan of putting it into practice, if it is useful? May be learning by improvement in not our destiny and so such an important tool of life, is itself left in the wilderness.
Sanjay Sahay

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