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January 06, 2008

What did you learn today?

When you're a kid, someone often asks you "What did you learn today?"  You start to expect the question so you're kind of preparing for it throughout the day.  Then when you get home and your mum springs the question on you, you've got some kernel that will satisfy her so you can go outside and play.  Stuff like, "I learned that Einstein was a Pisces" or "I learned that mice sometimes eat their young" or "I learned that stuffing yellow tissue paper up the tap spigot turns the water yellow and then everybody thinks it's pee." 

When you get to be an adult, people stop asking you "What did you learn today?"  I think that's because you're just supposed to know stuff.  I guess you're supposed to have grown up by now.  Well where's the fun in that?

Recently, I signed up for a business course with Melanie Benson Strick.  She gave me a new excercise.  Every night I get my notebook and write, "One thing I learned today is..." and I write down one thing I learned, and then I write down one thing I'd do differently if I had to do it again. 

Amazingly, this has the same effect on me that it used to have.  I go through my day learning things on purpose so I have something to report later.   

Sometimes the stuff I write at night is understated, like "One thing I learned today is that pressing Ctrl-S frequently is the only way to have a happy experience with Microsoft Word."  This is a much nicer way of putting it than the things I said in the white hot rage of the actual learning moment (after 3 crashes and the abject failure, on each occasion, of AutoRecover).

Sometimes I learn stuff about my behaviour.  Like, "One thing I learned today is that I have a lot more energy to get things accomplished when I have the drama of a time limit."  For example, instead of putting on my to-do list "Clean up the workshop" I now write "Clean up the workshop - 20 minutes".  That lights a fire under the old botty*. 

And if I don't get the job totally finished in 20 minutes, at least I got 20 minutes worth of effort into it, and I can do another 20 minutes tomorrow.  But the thing is, if I didn't apply that time limit, odds are good that I would have felt so overwhelmed by the task that I wouldn't even have started the job in the first place.  Cool, eh?

So let me be your mum for a minute.  What did you learn today?

*Botty:  Old English for arse



I learned that:
1. the whiners & complainers of this world will no longer draw power from me, and

2. just 'cuz they SAY it's decaf doesn't MEAN it's decaf.


Bob, I can tell you have an interesting life.

Thanks for the laugh,



Hi Mag
I learned to tell whenever my friends are joking about something or not. Cause me being so stupid I fall for it everytime. Like before we left for Kentucky my friends were telling me that the hotel that we were staying in all the rooms were full. Of course I fell for it, they all thought it was the funniest thing! To make a long story short - now whenever they try to trick me, I'm just like - whatever, I don't believe you.

ps Mag that was fun I love this post it rocked


Thanks for making me re-thing my day!


Thanks for making me re-thing my day!


I learned to listen to my intuition. Some times I know the answer even when I don't give myself credit for it.
I learned that an 8 pound cat can knock a woman down when she is squatting down to gather eggs in the hen house.
I learned that I am grateful that I am NOT a pharmacist!
I learned that feeding a dog pumpkin can settle his stomach when he has the runs.
Thanks for the reminder. I ask my daughter that question every day and I wonder why she never asks me?


What does CRTL S do in Word, anyway?


Great thoughts, CP. Maybe kids don't ask adults what they learned today because they figure we gave that up a while back!

'Ctrl S' saves the document so that the autorecover settings work (at least on my elderly PC that's running Windows NT). Otherwise, when the system crashes (often), Word hasn't saved any of the keystrokes since the last save.

Okay, how do you keep a cat's weight under 13 pounds?! That's what I'd like to learn!

P.S. Today I learned that rough-housing with a 13 pound cat for 15 minutes while listening to Bhangra music burns off more calories on a woman than it does on the fat cat.


Today at work during break time, I learned that a moose is on the loose in Marietta OH. Literay it first it was like on COlgate Drive and now its now on third Street! Now that is a highlight of my day!


i tried to do something like this with my coworkers when i first started working at the bookstore i work at, but everyone was too hip to actually say anything worthwhile... and also, i was new, so no soul-baring there. and i wasn't all that great at it myself because i got all shy...

but anyway... it's 10:30 in the morning, and i've learned that my girlfriend's cat will sleep on me after she's gone to work. but i think i learned that last time i was here so that doesn't count. i'll do yesterday. yesterday i learned that it's boring when the kid i have the hardest time with (at my other job at an after school progam) isn't there.


Gee, thanks for asking. After seeing the Celebrity Apprentice, I learned that as a project manager one needs to -listen- to each participant. By the way, I'm cheering for the Hydra team.

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Nota Bene

  • It’s never too late to be who you might have been. - George Eliot (1819-1880)
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