This summer, my friend Sarah got a puppy she named Molly. Molly has been busy educating Sarah ever since.
- When Molly chewed up her owner’s $200 Bose ear buds, Sarah learned being too attached to material things was a sure fire way to set herself up for suffering.
- Sarah has learned to let-go of grudges, and upset feelings quickly. Molly was back begging for attention and licking her hand within two minutes after being scolded for chewing up the ear buds.
- Stretching is good. Molly stretches every morning when she wakes, in fact she does a long body stretch every time she gets up from a nap. It’s a good reminder for Sarah to take breaks from her long hours hunched over a computer.
One of the most insightful lessons Sarah learned came from watching Molly chase squirrels.
Initially, Molly would head out the kitchen door to run wildly around the yard looking for something to chase. There was often a squirrel in the trees to her right. Off she’d go. After a week or so she immediately looked right when she ran out the door. Now, when Molly goes out she immediately runs to her right. She’s three months old; that’s a strong learning curve. It took Molly very little time at all to decide that running to the right was the quickest path to her objective.
It’s easy to get tangled up inside our own heads, questioning and second guessing our next move when a simple action with no downside might do the trick.
Applied learning is about using your prior knowledge and experience to constantly improve your performance instead of merely maintaining status quo. Call it “puppy wisdom”.