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June 20th, 2019

When bad things happen in life, the perennial advice is: move on.


Life goes on, and so must we. 


Or so goes the common belief on such situations.


However, learning, is all about reflection.  Particularly when it comes to mistakes and misfortunes.  ‘Learning’ in this sense is in direct opposition to the common sense prescription to move on.


If anything, learning is all about knowing how to pause and dwell on the recent past in a productive manner.  The word ‘dwell’ often has a very negative connotation in this sense.  To dwell on the past is often referred to as a bad thing, like driving while staring exclusively in the rear-view mirror.


But to charge forward into the future without reflection is equally unwise.


To reflect on the past, particularly when someone has past, is to honor it, to learn from it, and to change the future in accordance to the magnitude of things past.


When someone we care about is gone, it’s a mistake to simply move on. 


And to merely dwell on the loss is equally unwise.


What we can do is to keep such people close in our minds. 


With each relation that we create, whether acquaintance, or long-time friend, we all create a sort of mental model of that person.  In our own mind we create a sort of working copy of how that other person reacts to the world. 


Such a model is bound to be incomplete and inevitably wildly inaccurate, but not so inaccurate that we cannot gain some sort of lasting benefit from the people who have graced our lives.


We can always ask: what would they have done in this situation.


We’re likely to surprise ourselves when an answer comes to mind that never would have occurred had we tried to navigate a problem with just our own opinion in mind.


To simply ‘move on’ is terrible advice.


We must move with the experiences of our friends and family, whether gone by distance or by some irrevocable circumstance of life.  We can carry these people, and their wisdom with us, and no matter how tightly clamped the past may be, we can continually grow from the wisdom of those who have honored us with their presence.



This episode references Episode 32: Rear-View

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Podcast Ep. 431: Don't Move On

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