If you are a parent of school-aged children (or have ever been a school-aged child), I would bet you have asked or heard this question every single day: “What did you learn in school today?” And when those same children roll their eyes or say ?oh Mom!? those same parents persist; asking a follow up question like, “You know you learned something – you were there all day, c’mon, what did you learn?”
After some prying and cajoling, the children answer with some morsel or lesson learned during the day. The kids are relieved, and the parents are happy. This scene plays out in cars and homes all over the world, and yet this question that seems so obvious to parents seems to escape our thoughts for ourselves.
The modified question you could ask yourself every day is: “What did I learn today?”
Why This Question Works
Parents ask school children about what they learned at school because they expect them to learn at school. But somehow after graduation, people stop thinking about learning as their daily task. And yet, human beings are learning beings. Our bodies and brains are constantly learning.
If you are constantly learning you might wonder why you need to ask this question at all (and that is a good question itself!).
While you are constantly learning, the things you are learning are subconscious and therefore not necessarily accessible to your conscious mind. Also, the things you are learning by just going through your day may not be the things you most want to learn. So, by asking the question, you are making your learning more conscious and intentional.
As you ask it more frequently, you will begin to see your daily experiences as learning opportunities and those things you most want to learn and improve will become clearer.
How This Question Works
As you begin to think of life as your own personal learning laboratory, you can expect ideas, lessons and discoveries each day. The question plays to that expectancy.
What did I learn today?
When you ask yourself this question, you are expecting that there is learning to recall! When you create the habit of asking, you begin to create a habit of looking for the things you are learning. And, as you expectantly look, you will most certainly find lessons and learnings.
Where This Questions Works
This question works in every part of your life!
Consider asking the question to help you learn:
In your personal life
In your professional life
As a team member
As a leader
In pursuit of a specific goal
Based on your needs you may choose to ask the generic question about your entire day, to focus on one of these areas specifically (i.e. what did I learn today to make me a better parent, or what did I learn today to make me a better salesperson), or to ask the question multiple times, once for each important role or learning goal that you have.
However you choose to apply this question to your life, the power will come from asking it consistently.
To make your results even more satisfying also add the habit of writing down your answers each day. The process of writing will further clarify your thinking, and you will have a permanent record of your lessons, ideas and learning.
Potential Pointer: To reach your potential in any area of your life, you must become a more consistent, continual and intentional learner. The best habit to help you achieve this goal is to ask yourself “What did I learn today?” every day.