Below is the audio version of this blog post:
This Secret of the Universe is about how to increase what you learn from experience. I’m going to begin by sharing with you why I named my blog Secrets of the Universe.
It was for sentimental reasons, as my children were growing up. I used the phrase “tips for living” when providing guidance or giving advice. However, that phrase wasn’t too attention grabbing. So I switched to a phrase with built in fascination, Secrets of the Universe.
Everyone loves knowing something they aren’t supposed to know and all Secrets of the Universe also came with a warning, about using the knowledge responsibly. The kids were told that most people never had access to this information, especially children their age, but that I thought they could handle it, however, they would have to promise to use their powers for good.
Because they knew these Secrets of the Universe, my children felt better equipped to navigate their day-to-day lives. As adults, they are still proud to report when they have used their powers for good.
The first Secret of the Universe I shared with my children became a dinner table ritual. It was about what to keep and how to remember their daily experience – their souvenirs.
At dinner time, when asked, “How was your day?” there would be a lot of complaining from my children, my husband and me - about school, work, the weather, or any little thing that was annoying. Something had to change.
I did some research on story-telling and how reframing our experience depends on the questions we ask, and the words we use to answer them. I am going to share with you how to collect stories from your day - about what went right, as well as understanding what you could have done differently when things went wrong. The questions promote a positive attitude and curiosity about learning from experience.
Secrets of the Universe are a collage of knowledge from many sources assembled to provoke learning using common sense, practical know-how, and shared collective wisdom. After gathering this knowledge together, I condensed these big thoughts into several simple questions.
The Four Questions
1. What was positive about your day?
What good experiences do you want to repeat?
2. What went wrong and what do you wish you could do over?
Specifically, what would you change about your own behavior to get a better outcome?
3. What did you discover about your day?
This open-ended question is a real conversation starter. Patterns, surprises, and things to think about further will result.
4. What are you looking forward to?
What you look forward to could be large or small – watching TV, playing with friends, going to yoga class, or tomorrow’s delicious lunch.
Short and Long Term Benefits
I am happy to report that my children grew into wonderful adults and that their father and I probably benefited more than they did from learning how to increase our learning from experience. I am sharing this with you because I think you will benefit too.
What souvenirs of your day-to-day life do you save? Many people tend to hoard the real or imagined slights, disappointments, and injustices of their day. This habit of collecting troubling thoughts takes a lot of energy and reduces your capacity for new learning.
However, with practice you can learn to be less subjective and not take setbacks, just personally. You can increase your capacity to interpret daily events more objectively by asking yourself these simple questions. Having something to do that is easy at the end of the day is always a plus.
The short and long-term results are great. For example:
- Less complaining and frustration about other people.
- Less negative predictions about the future.
- Increased understanding of how your action/inaction impacts your day.
- Intentional choices to do more of what works and less of what doesn't.
Welcome to our family tradition and may the Secrets of the Universe help to keep us all curious about, “the worlds that go on within us and without us.” Many thanks to the late George Harrison for that bit of wisdom.
If you want to try out this strategy, I am happy to offer a free 20 minute consultation. Just send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org