If you think it’s too late in your year to learn anything meaningful, stop reading here, and you have my permission to delete this special delivery. Yes, delete it now😊. If you don’t think it’s too late, then read on.

Dear Students,

If you’re human, you’re already spending some time in reflection as we count down the last few days of the year. I have met with a lot of students this year (note to self: henceforth, do a count of how many students I meet with one-on-one each year. Oh my gosh, it will actually be exciting for me to see the number!). An often-occuring common denominator from those meetings is a student’s feeling of being wronged. You’ve been offended by a classmate, a professor, a roommate, a parent, a friend, (ME), and the list goes on. Here’s where most of us get a grade of “F” – very rarely do we stop in that moment or the few moments afterwards to ask ourselves “what did I learn?”.

So here’s the lesson: in every bad experience that you have, learn something from it.

Nothing mind blowing about the lesson. In fact you know it so well and you’ve heard it more than a few times before that you have likely missed exactly how to learn the lesson.

So let’s salvage that before the year is over.

1. Right now (well, hopefully you’re reading this in a somewhat quiet place – if you can’t get to a quiet place, bookmark this post and come back to it); think of just one specific and really bad experience that you had this year. *Really bad because you are likely to recall that faster.

2. Relive every moment of the experience. Don’t rush this step. Think about where you were. Picture everything around you – the furniture, the colors, the landscape, placement of things, any animals roaming around, what people were doing and what they were wearing. Don’t forget to recall unique smells from that moment if possible. Lastly see yourself in the scene.

3. Now relive all active moments of the experience. Here’s hoping nothing got physical. Dialogue is important here. What was said to you, and what did you say? Hear all of it again and take special note of what you said, how you responded. What were your triggers? Were you the source of the triggers?

If you cannot get passed NOT shifting blame, you cannot learn the lesson here.

4. What could you have said or done differently that would have made you more proud of you? There is an added lesson that you must learn along the way – you CANNOT change someone else’s behavior. So at no point in this exercise can you apply that often used phrase: “If X had or had not said or done …” If you can’t get passed that phrase, you cannot learn the necessary lesson here. And maybe now’s just not your time to learn it. Do know this however, you are almost definitely going to relive this experience over again with the same to similar unpleasant results.

5. Write that thing down. Lesson Learned. If your power of suggestion is just that good – relive the experience again but this time apply your changed behavior. That’s it!

*Now if you live for random street fights and enjoy constant discord, heck, you’ve got nothing to learn here and I just wasted your time!