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Learning Through Reflecting

>> Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Was reading a book one day and this statement took me completely off guard, "you do not learn by going through an experience, you learn from reflecting on the experience!"

I felt that this was very meaningful as we can go through many experiences every day but we will learn little if we do not take some time to debrief and reflect on what we went through.

The debrief process also needs to be effective. So, objective questions need to be addressed:
1. What happened?
2. What worked, and why?
3. What did not work, and why?
4. What could have been done differently?

Firstly, it is to recall what happened.
Secondly, focus on how to recreate the success.
Thirdly, the mistakes to avoid.
Lastly, how to avoid those mistakes.

The process may seem very logical and simple. Many may even be thinking, "Like that only, who don't know"?!

Exactly, it is precisely so simple, yet few make the effort to do it, consciously. When going into the first and every subsequent investment, it is important to reflect when the transaction is over. Regardless if there was a profit or a loss, those same questions should be asked so that mistakes will not be repeated and positive strengths uncovered.

After many rounds, a whole set of best practices and the ability to be consistent develops. Many times, advice stops at, "If you fail, try again." However, that is also incomplete, according to Einstein who defines insanity as "Doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results." Simple trying again is insane, unless one tries again, differently. I feel like when I was younger and did not do well in exams, parents will encourage and say "study harder". Doing more in the wrong way is not going to produce better results; rather the method of studying needs to be revisited.

Similar to "Practice makes perfect". Practice actually makes permanent, like a habit. But if it is the wrong habit, it is not going to be perfection. The practice requires refinement to improve each time to reach perfection. The spiral of the improvement cycle is only complete with the last feedback arrow.

Well, this has left me a lot of food for thought and I hope it has for you as well.

"When you stop learning, stop listening, stop looking and stop asking questions, then it is time to die."

4 comments:

Singapore Man Of Leisure December 4, 2011 at 8:57 PM  

Lau,

I am glad I am still making mistakes... (not that I want to!)

It's a sign I am still curious, still learning, still questiong, and still experimenting!

That means I am still "young-at-heart"! LOL!

Lau December 5, 2011 at 5:42 PM  

hi SMOL

Yes, that is great!

Forever young, forever young..

certified financial planner December 30, 2011 at 7:01 PM  

Great article, as a financial planner I totally agree reflecting is vital

Lau December 31, 2011 at 10:31 AM  

Yes CFP. That is why regular financial reviews are needed to know ones financial health. Thanks.

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