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Lisbeth Calandrino

I come from Copake Lake, New York; a small, country  town in the Berkshire hills. The people were simple.

There were twenty people  in the winter and two hundred in the summer. It used to get lonely in the winter.

Compared to the way people think today, people seemed ignorant. The people weren’t ignorant, the  times were. It was over sixty years ago.

Many of my friends had horses, and we all learned how to ride, bareback. There was a saying, there’s no lesson learned in the second kick of the mule.   In those days it wasn’t a mule, it was a  horse.

No  matter how many times I heard the expression, watch out for the horses’s hind legs, I never took it too seriously.

To this day, I can remember  turning my back on the horse and getting kicked!

Despite the warning  it seemed to be  an unavoidable happening.

Despite the pain, it was never enough to get me to focus on the horse’s back legs.I was too caught up in riding the horse.

When the  equivalent problems come along, businesses handle it the identical way. Despite the problem, they don’t seem to learn from it. Sure enough, a second kick is around the corner.

There is another expression that goes with it; it’s called ‘ learning from experience’. Rarely do we learn from experience. It just doesn’t work.

People learn  from an ‘evaluation of their experiences,’ not the experience itself. Most people are so happy to be out of the situation that they forget the experience. This brings me back to the second kick from the mule.

Our experiences use up our time and ultimately, our life. What could be more valuable?

I wrote a speech about life being like tiny pearls strung together and my writer friend Shelia Carmody added her twist. Her thoughts, “The more you invest in what life has to offer, the shinier your pearls!”

Why have plain  pearls when you can have shiny ones?

How can you learn from your experiences: (Karen Keller has some interesting thoughts on learning from experience.)

Be clear about the experience. Not the one you made up but the one you had. Rather than seeing things the way they are, we make the experience into what we want it to be. No wonder it comes out wrong. How can you learn from an experience that never really existed. The experience was the one we wanted not the one we had.

Be open to learning. You’ve all looked at the photo which contains one old woman and one young woman. At first, you may see nothing, but if you turn  the photo upside down, you see two photographs. Be willing to look at the situation from another angle. (If you haven’t seen this, it’s worth a look.)

People get so invested in making up their experience rather than dealing with what it is.

Write down what you’re doing and thinking. Ask yourself, does it make sense? Am I looking at it clearly? When you write your experiences down, you’re likely to see a pattern. Stay focused and don’t lose these important lessons.

Lastly,  consider  change your friend not your enemy. Many people are afraid to change. If you let your imagination loose, it will run wild with you. I have a friend who can go from  a rainstorm  to a tornado in about five seconds flat. I’ve been talking with my friends’ about the upcoming storm, and their reactions are interesting. A friend  asked  if I would take her to the grocery store to get water before the stores ran out.   In  her mind, the storm was already here, and she was out of water.

Talk about getting ahead of  yourself.

Lisbeth Calandrino helps businesses build loyal relationships with their customers. She does this through customer service training and retention marketing.

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