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How to learn from past experiences

We can all learn lessons from past experiences. In fact, some of the biggest successes have come from years of trying and trying again.
A lesson I would teach a younger me is ‘don’t try and do everything Lucy, just do what you’re really passionate about, the cause that you’re most kind of concerned about or interested in, because there are so many opportunities and you have to be passionate about what you do, otherwise you’ll burn out.’ You need to really love what you’re doing. To my younger self I think I would say don’t be scared, don’t ever be scared. Don’t worry about things, just go and do it. You never know where you’re going to go.
Keep hold of your friends because they’re the ones who keep you grounded as well, they’re the ones who tell you when you’re being an idiot, or when you’ve done something really well and that’s, that really just that that’s just amazing and I wish I have a lot of friends that I’ve just let fall by the wayside and I wish I’d kept hold of them. Be confident in what you believe in and challenge the norm. You can steer your career, you don’t have to end up in a cul-de-sac.
You can use your skills that you learn in one sector and transfer them to another and there is something out there which will genuinely excite you and you can go and find it and follow it and that’s brilliant. Nothing that you did earlier on in life really matters later on, you can get things wrong, you can recover from mistakes and you don’t realise it ‘til later because it all seems really vital and important at the time, but it’s all okay. You know, year after year I am seeing us being able to maintain what we are doing, in fact growing with what we are doing, so I would tell my younger self not to worry, everything would be okay.
The younger Liz Zeidler was incredibly idealistic and thought she could change the world in, you know, matter of moments and I probably would say to her don’t lose your idealism. I think it’s really important to be idealistic, it’s really important to think big and have big ambitions in life, but perhaps you need to be a little bit more patient because sometimes big changes can take quite a long time. Going back to school everyone would say, don’t take formal education as red. Develop a self-sufficiency and you’re thinking. Don’t let it constrain your creativity and also try not to spend so much time and energy on trying to be perfect.
Learn from your mistakes, grow and develop and move on, is what I would tell my younger self. The piece of advice I probably give to my younger self is make sure that you are comfortable saying ‘no’ to things. Be yourself, embrace all the, kind of, quirks and lack of attention span, weird ways of working and apply them to all the challenges and opportunities that you face. Ultimately, if you can get inside the system and seek to change it then you can absolutely see this not just as something that’s ethically fine but perhaps ethically the highest impact you could have. I was such a worry-wart about what other people thought and what other people thought of me or expected of me.
You know you need to worry about what you want and that you can do it. Not changed much what I’ve done because I always believed on things, but maybe be a bit more practical, when it comes to practicality of life. I think personally I’d say to my younger self, you’re going to be different in 20 years time and that’s okay and that’s fine to do that, so I’d probably tell them to relax a little bit and not to try and over plan the future. Don’t be afraid of doing what you believe is right. Make sure that you tell the people around you how much you appreciate them.
I think I’d say believe in yourself, follow your instincts, you won’t always be right, but it’s much better to be wrong doing what you believe, than being wrong doing what other people tell you. Things emerge and I think the important thing in life is just to be open to opportunities, to be observant, you know to have conversations with people, to be generally interested in others and I think through that most people are lucky enough to kind of find the opportunities and find those dots that they can join up to do what you know what they love and what inspires them. I would say be more optimistic, have more faith in yourself and listen to other people more.
I wouldn’t tell my younger self don’t be naive, I would tell my younger self, say you’re not gonna be this naive and stupid forever. You will learn, you’re going to make mistakes, you’re gonna feel bad about those mistakes, learn from those mistakes. Don’t be defensive, learn from those mistakes and become a better person for it. Have more fun, life is short and there are so many good things that you could do in your spare time that you need to give yourself spare time to do lots of good things.
Getting a good work-life balance and being kind to yourself, taking care of your health, both your physical health and your mental health and your emotional health and at the end of the day, love is being with people you love is a really, way more important thing than any job, that’s what I think.

We can all learn lessons from past experiences. In fact, some of the biggest successes have come from years of trying and trying again.

According to legend, Thomas Edison’s teachers told him he was “too stupid to learn anything” before he went on to invent some world-changing devices like the electric lamp and the movie camera.

Every car features windshield wipers, but this invention was ignored for years. Inventor Mary Anderson persevered against accusations that the device would distract drivers and ultimately the safety-enhancing wipers became a standard feature for the automobile industry.

Alexander Miles’s daughter nearly died due to the lack of safety features in late nineteenth-century elevators. He decided to make sure no parent experienced the same scare again and in 1887 patented automatic doors that shaped our modern elevator designs.

Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper editor because he “lacked imagination” and was later rejected 300 times when trying to sell his Mickey Mouse idea to inventors. Oprah Winfrey encountered horrendous childhood trauma before succeeding scholastically independently. Later she encountered further abuse in her early days in the media world before achieving international fame and success. Steven Spielberg was rejected by the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts multiple times. At the time of writing, he has won three Academy Awards and directed over thirty feature films.

This experience of rejection and failure often teaches us lessons we wouldn’t have otherwise learned.

  • What lessons have you learned in life that have helped you to get to where you are today?
  • Were there any lessons talked about in the video that you particularly liked?
Feloni, F. and Lutz, A. (2014). 23 Incredibly Successful People Who Failed At First Business Insider, published online 7 March 2014
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