How to Learn When the Test Comes Before the Lesson

I love the quote about life being a cruel teacher, administering the test before the lesson (which I believe is from Oscar Wilde originally and is now being attributed to Drake??).

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And it’s true, isn’t it? We’re presented with challenges that we don’t yet have the tools to overcome. We face situations with which we are unfamiliar and unpracticed. Somehow, we muddle through and make it through, only to look back later and finally reach a level of understanding.

My now-husband once made a statement about I handled my divorce gracefully. I laughed at the absurdity of that statement, remembering my early (and rather ugly) emails to my ex and my hours spent trying to learn everything I could about his other wife and his other life. I made poor decisions. I was reactive instead of proactive, since I was making it up as I went along.

My now-husband then clarified, “No, I mean after the early emotional stuff. You didn’t try to punish him and you used the experience to make yourself and others better.”

And that’s how life’s lessons are:

Hard.

Messy.

And only understood after you’ve survived the test.

Read more about my own test in this new piece over at DivorceForce. 

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7 Responses

  1. There is a school of thought, that the people who give us the hardest times are our best teachers. I know it’s true in my case. I’m glad your life has turned out well, despite the hard teachers and hard lessons.

  2. Patrick says:

    Some lessons in life are not easy. Taking the high road is never easy but you end the journey, you can know you did your best and can walk away with no regrets.

  3. Wise words, as ever.

  4. JoAnna says:

    I think we get wiser about tests with time if we just observe for a while. But I still can get caught up in reacting. We are human, but we learn.

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