As kids, the most valuable lessons we learn are the ones we learn for ourselves. The failures. The experiences that went in total contrast to expectation.
And our parents probably told us it was going to happen. We never believed them, so we tried it anyway. And typically, if we would just have listened, we could have learned the same lesson.
But the experience of failing and learning the lesson is irreplaceable. It leaves us with a lasting impression.
And as we get older – we think this all changes. We all just start to assume we can share our experiences and expect everyone to just listen and avoid the hardship. You’ve heard it, “I made all those mistakes as a kid – I don’t understand why they are making the same mistakes that I did. They should know better.”
But if we didn’t listen growing up, what makes us think that someone else will? Why do we suddenly expect our kids to listen to us? Or even our employees for that matter?
Sure we can scare them and shame them into avoidance. But is that the way to make lessons stick?
I know, for me, the most valuable lessons I have learned all involve ignoring authority and learning the lesson for myself. If we didn’t listen, we can’t expect others to behave any differently.
Give people latitude to screw up. And let them fall down. It’s the only way to make sure those valuable lessons stick.