One of the biggest “lessons” I learned from one of my mentors is the saying “Filter For Lessons.”
The point being, that every thing you experience in life has a lesson to learn.
You can choose to find the lesson and learn from it, or you can choose to ignore it and keep going, repeating the same mistakes…
Either way, you’re the one in control.
Filter For Lessons
Filtering for lessons is about becoming aware of every thing that is going on in your life.
Slowing down long enough to be fully present to the experience and journey you are undergoing. Taking the good with the bad, and knowing that there is good in every thing – you just have to find it and work with it.
Filtering for lessons is about committing to a life of constant, personal growth.
It’s about taking responsibility for your life and the world you create and being at cause. That is, you are the creator of your own reality. You create every thing that goes on in your life. It doesn’t “happen” to you. It’s on you.
AND, if it ain’t working the way you planned, it’s on you to stop, look around, figure out why, and do something differently.
In other words, filter for lessons.
How To Filter For Lessons
Like every thing in life, how you go about filtering for lessons could be a little different for every one.
For me, it’s kind of a reverse engineering process. I start with the end point and work backwards.
Test it out. It might work for you, or you can figure out a different way to filter for your lessons and then apply them.
01 – Start with the ACTUAL outcome
Look at the actual results and outcomes you are achieving in life. This could be on a large scale, such as your career or your financial situation, or broken down a little to the scale of a single conversation or an encounter that ends in conflict.
- Get really clear on whatever it is that’s not working for you right now, in terms of the outcome.
- Exactly what is happening or has happened?
- How is this making you feel? Why?
02 – Define the DESIRED outcome
We often go into situations with no idea how we actually want them to end. There’s no clarity on what you actually want to achieve or what you want your outcome to be.
So, take the opportunity to take a step backward and get clear on the outcome you would have preferred instead of what happened.
- How would you prefer the experience had ended?
- How did you want to feel instead of the way you feel now?
03 – How did you contribute to your ACTUAL outcome
You have no control over the way any one else behaves or reacts to any thing. We are all emotional human beings with very different perspectives in the world. And, as the human beings we are, we act and RE-act on emotion and impulse, often with little or no thought for the consequences.
This can be acting on excitement and expectation, as well as fear or anger. In the heat of the moment, things can be said and done by any one that can later be regretted.
So this is not about “well, he said this” or “she started it.”
And, if there’s no-one else involved in this particular outcome it most certainly is NOT about blaming or judging your self!
Lose the blame. Accept that we are all flawed human beings doing the best that we can and that every one involved in this scenario played some kind of a part.
And, as the evolved human being that you are, you’re taking full responsibility to filter for your lessons.
- What part did you play in your outcome?
- What did you do to start this experience or outcome? What was the trigger that you created or responded to?
- What are the specific steps you took from the start – what did you say or do?
At this point it’s important not to be judgemental or emotional. Stick to the facts of what happened. What were the specific steps that occurred to take you down the path that led to your outcome?
04 – What Went Wrong
This one takes ownership.
Again, remember that this is not a blame-game. It’s about you taking responsibility for the part you played
- Look through the steps that led to the outcome and identify the things that you did or said that led you further towards the actual outcome.
- Identify the major points where you could have done some thing differently.
- What is the first point that you could do differently?
- What would you do instead?
05 – What Will You Do Differently
You are the creator of your own reality. You are the only one with any control over what happens in your life.
This is about becoming aware, overcoming the emotional attachments and taking responsibility for your self and your life.
- What could you do differently to get the desired outcome and feel the way you want to feel?
- What will you do differently to get the desired outcome and feel the way you want to feel?
- How will this happen? What’s the first step towards this? What do you have to do/ say/ be to make sure this happens?
Find The Lessons
The lessons are always there.
In every crappy outcome. And, in every positive outcome.
This does not just apply to the “bad” things in life.
When things are going well, you can use exactly the same process, but instead of considering what didn’t work and what you would do differently to get a different outcome, look at what worked and what you can do better.
Filtering for lessons and finding them is all about making the commitment to do so and actually take responsibility and change and improve your life.
Ignore The Lessons
The alternative is to ignore the lessons.
That’s fine. It’s up to you.
But, when you choose to ignore what’s going on in your life and paly the blame-game, putting the responsibility on someone else, you’re not filtering for lessons and you’re certainly not learning the lessons.
When you fail to learn a lesson, it comes back.
You might know people (sometimes intimately!) who keep falling into the same relationship with the same issues. OR, change jobs, but still encounter the same challenges and same crappy bosses. It’s the same job with a different logo (yep, I had over 20 of them!)
That’s because the lessons are not being filtered for, and certainly not learned.
And so the same mistakes are being played out over and over again.
Tickled By A Feather, Hit By a Brick, Smashed By A Mack Truck
When you don’t learn the lessons they come back at you bigger than before every time – in an attempt to get your attention. You get:
- Tickled by a feather – Which creates minor fallout givesyou a gentle opportunity to learn your lessons;
- Hit a brick – Which hurts a little more and has a bigger impact; and finally
- Smashed by a mack truck – At this point you’ve got such a crappy outcome you seriously have to wake up and do something differently.
By waking up now and paying attention to that feather and start to filter for lessons in every thing you can hopefully avoid the brick and the mack truck.
Learning From Other Peoples Lessons
When I say there’s lessons in every thing. I mean there’s lessons in every thing.
Most of all in other people’s lessons.
If you want to totally avoid being ticked by the feather, then pay attention to other people’s lessons, regardless of whether they learn them or not!
Watch what other people do and have done and play the same game.
Consider the actual outcome, the desired outcome (for you), what happened, and what could have happened differently. More importantly, when people do great, figure out how! Then go and apply it to your own life.
Learning this way is going to ensure that you never get tickled by that feather, let alone the mack truck!
What lessons do you need to learn?