“Good decisions come from experience, which comes from bad decisions.”

I heard this line in a movie last night. I said “Oh! That’s good!” and quickly added it to my “Quotes” section in my Notes app on my iPhone. 
I think we all try really hard to make the best decisions (unless you’re Vince Vaughn in every Vince Vaughn movie). How do we know what the best decision is? Sometimes we think we know, we apply our good sense and lessons we’ve been taught.

But what if we’re making a decision without any prior knowledge? What if there was no lesson on this one? Then what?


The best example I can think of is in parenting. Parenting is years of trial and error. Yes error. Parenting our kids isn’t like parenting anyone else’s kids. So even if mom and dad give me tons of advice on how to parent my kids, I’m still going to make mistakes. For many reasons: my kids are different than I was, my kids were born in a different time, I don’t agree with some things my parents did, and so on.

The first time one of my kids said something hurtful to me, I reacted. I got very upset. I shamed her. I yelled at her. I cried. It didn’t occur to me to get to the bottom of why she said the things she did and maybe, just maybe, she didn’t mean it. I’d already reacted. Things got out of hand. Really, I wanted to not talk to her for several days and then just sweep it under the rug. I’ll be honest. I did do that. Did that solve anything? No. Did I learn anything? Of course I did. After several days of distance, I was still mad at her. Nothing had been resolved. 

This bad decision led me to come up with a better decision when it happened again. And yes, it will happen, a lot. Now, if that happens, I’m able to take my emotions out of the equation and look at the root of why she said the things she said. I back off when I sense that I should back off (instead of pushing and pushing until I hear what I want to hear) The result? She’s WAY less combative with me in arguments. She’s even stopped using hurtful things in these conversations. And that’s another thing! We have actual, calm conversations. Questions and responses. Instead of yelling and crying or yelling and yelling. 

While I would have liked to make the best decision the first time around (it would have saved a lot of pain), I’m happy that I can clearly see now why the bad decision was bad. Maybe Vince Vaughn is on to something.

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