Learning from the AFGO’s – Another Frickin’ Growth Opportunity
We can wryly re-frame the mistakes and goof-ups of our lives as AFGO’s – another frickin’ growth opportunity.
We forget to wipe the moisture off the rear window of the car in the morning and inadvertently run over our son’s tricycle left in the driveway. Well, we vow to remember to never do that again.
We miss a doctor’s appointment because we forgot to check our calendar that morning, and we vow to create cues to double check from now on.
The point is, we learn to frame something that has gone wrong as something to learn from for the future. And we do that learning with the small mistakes because it’s the same learning process for the bigger mistakes, sorrows and struggles.
[I teach a lot about learning from AFGO’s and strengthening our resilience by learning from disasters as well as AFGO’s in my new online course Resilience 2.0]
It may seem counter-intuitive to deliberately “spin” an accident or serious error as a learning opportunity, but that’s exactly what strengthens our capacities to cope with life’s major challenges and crises over time. By learning what we coulda-shoulda-woulda-Buddha have done differently from one specific experience, over time we train ourselves to always do it differently next time. Or we train ourselves to think through how we could do it differently next time.
In truth, the next time may be some completely new upset or disruption that we didn’t know could happen. But what we begin to know is that no matter what happens, we can learn from the experience, and we learn that we can learn.
It’s that commitment to re-framing a problem or even a disaster as a learning opportunity that builds our resilience over time. And we learn that we can become more resilient.
1. Identify one specific instance where you made a mistake or you were blind-sided by some difficulty that knocked you off your feet. Not the worst thing that ever happened, but something that was not so easy to shrug off.
2. See if you can identify how you recovered from that mistake or upset, because there is learning about and claiming your resilience right there.
3. Identify cues that would warn you of something like that happening again, where you could anticipate and behave differently beforehand, avoiding the mistake or the blind-side.
4. Identify how you could better cope and recover now, based on hindsight and your learning from the previous experience.
5. Take a moment to register: you are learning how to learn. From the hard stuff as well as the good stuff. That’s growing your resilience, and learning that you can.
The art of living lies less in eliminating our troubles than in growing with them.
– Bernard Baruch