I recently left a comment for another blogger and my own response got me thinking. The post in question was about the fact that the writer’s healthy eating habits had gone awry for a few months. They were … taking a breath and regrouping to move forward, and in doing so were attempting to learn from the past few months. She asked we readers what we would tell ourselves in the same situation.
“Move on,” I said. I told her that I believed there were actual theories that supported my sage advice.
I suspect I’ve mentioned that I was never much of a student. In fact, I think I was doing my Masters before I finally realised that one didn’t have to ‘learn’ everything verbatim, but rather ‘understand’ concepts. At school I was better in English, Maths and the like – stuff I didn’t need to ‘study’ for. Stuff I didn’t need to learn. If I understood how to do something (be it equations, algebra etc) then I could do it until the cows came home.
A subject I enjoyed as an undergraduate psychology student was about rational decision-making. It involved minimal theory (so my cup of tea) and was basically about weighting factors which would assist one in weighing alternatives and making a decision (and so forth).
One thing that’s stayed with me – and in fact is not rocket science (though did feature in rational decision-making logic) – was the notion of ‘sunk costs’. Basically we learned that it is NOT rational to consider past actions / behaviour when making future decisions. For example… do you spend money fixing a dud car, just because you’ve already channelled heaps of money into it? No. You look at what it’s going to cost you in future and make decisions SOLELY based on that fact.
It is IRRATIONAL, we learnt, to focus on past decisions or actions. They’re done and dusted and cannot be changed.
I’m sure the theory was a tad more complex and we were meant to learn from past behaviour / results and use them to predict the future, but… you get my drift.
It occurs to me that I harp on about the past. All. Of. The. Time. I need to take a leaf out of my own book and heed the advice I’m giving others!
I’ve written before about my years of anorexia and bulimia. Frankly they’re a lifetime ago. I’ve now been overweight for longer than I was of a normal weight or underweight. I need to stop clinging onto past behaviours: whether they be what I perceive as missed opportunities or thwarted potential; an inability to maintain lost weight; or failure to lose weight.
Instead, I need to focus on looking forward. I mean, I suspect it’s impossible NOT to learn from the past. I lived it, it’s part of who I am… I kinda know where I went right and where I went wrong. So now I suspect I need to focus more on my future and how I want to live the rest of my life!
There endeth the lesson!