Why is it that People never learn

This is going to be a short article but I think it is very relevant and insightful. The question is, ”Why is it that people never learn?”

I am going to answer the question based on what I myself have experienced. I know that doing what I recommend will produce results – in other words you will be able to learn from your mistakes and not repeat them.

The one word answer to how to learn from your mistakes is Introspection.

This is the traditional way in which we are supposed to learn. Whenever things are going badly, you stop, analyse your behaviour and experiences and in that way learn what mistakes you have made and how you should correct them going forward.

So, if it is so simple then why don’t most people do so most of the time?

Because it is simple but not easy.

The reason why people don’t learn is that it is painful to admit that you have made an ass of yourself. It requires intellectual and moral courage and you will need to live with the sting of knowing that you have behaved like a fool. You have to live with the fact even though you find it extremely unpleasant.

Most people find it difficult to do so. And that is the reason why people do not learn.

The 2,500 year old military classic, The Art of War, advises us:

If you know yourself and know the enemy you need not fear the result of a thousand battles.

And to know yourself you need to be as non judgmental as possible. You need to describe your behaviour and not judge it. Simply witness the past and use neutral, non judgmental words to describe it.

As the Bible says: “Judge not that you be not judged”

Going by my experience and depending on how embarrassing your mistake is it will take some time to absorb your mistake and learn the lessons required. I remember I did this introspection exercise, many years ago, on certain of my behaviours. I found the experience so intense and so unpleasant that I was actually hallucinating at the end of the experience.

But this is the only way for us to learn. Repentance is praised – I think – by all traditions and with good reason.

I repented and my behaviour changed dramatically after doing this introspection exercise. So I know what I am talking about.

Hope this helps someone.

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