Why we Learn the Hard Way?

The survival instinct is one of the strongest driving forces that conditions human behaviour. So, if we’re meant to safeguard our survival, why do we insist on learning the hard way and exposing ourselves to ‘unnecessary pain’?

The perception of growth is essential to our survival instinct. When we stop growing, we feel stress because our instinct gives us the perception that we are not adapting to the evolutionary rate of our environment. This stress is what makes us rebel against advice and common sense. It doesn’t matter how many times we’ve been warned against making a mistake, we are typically driven to learn from first hand experience.

When we learn through theory (advice), we create a rational consciousness of that information. However, when we learn through practice (experience), we create an emotional consciousness that shapes our values and therefore, our behaviour. Thus, we are designed to learn through experiences in order to grow. But why the pain? Why the hard way?

The experience itself causes an emotional impact which drives our behaviour. When we ‘learn the hard way’, we perceive a negative emotional impact that causes a value transformation. For example, if we feel pain because someone has lied to us, we forge values like: honesty, trust, loyalty, faithfulness, etc. We would value honesty as much as the fear to avoid the pain caused by this event; this is what we call emotional consciousness.

The negative emotional impact forges our values and therefore the perception of our identity: “Honesty is now part of my life”. The value transformation is proportionate to how much pain we felt when we perceived that this value was missing the most. The stronger the pain, the stronger our transformation, and thus, the stronger our perception of growth.

All in all, we are instinctively driven to learn the hard way because our behaviour is conditioned by our survival instinct. This is linked to our perception of growth, which happens through the transformation of values caused by experiences with negative emotions. In order words, we are just a bunch of stubborn masochistic fools.

Why not the Good Way?

Positive emotional impacts don’t transform our emotional values, rather reinforce them. The perception of growth that happens with the reinforcement of values may not be sufficient for some. Each person is different. Some people will take advice and learn the good way, while others prefer to learn the hard way: not once, not twice, but as many times as they need to fulfill their perception of growth.


Emotional Values and Social Bonds

The reshaping of values is what gives us the perception of growth. Our behaviour during childhood is primarily driven by basic instincts: I want it, therefore, I take it. However, when we grow (mature), we forge emotional values such as empathy, cooperation and consideration that end up becoming the social bonds we use to connect and form the complex societies we live in today.

These social bonds have been the foundation of our survival. They allowed the transition of our primitive ancestors to become the most dominant species on earth.

Most likely, the thing that you love the most about yourself is a skill or feature you developed to feel the emotional values that you perceive was missing the most during your childhood. You may want to read this last sentence again till you find it.

  • Secondly, we learn through experiences. Theoretical learning doesn’t cause the same impact as practical learning. Being told ‘what to do’ is not the same as learning on your own, through life experiences.
  • Then, the experience itself causes an emotional stimulation, which is essential to activate our memory and our capacity to learn.
  • If we are designed to learn and grow constantly, and we do it best through experiences that cause emotional stimulation, then we can assume that we have an emotional quota that needs to be drained periodically.
  • Our level of stress and our obsession with happiness is directly proportionate to how far our lifestyle is from our emotional values.
  • When our primitive lifestyle evolved with the arrival of complex societies, our survival then depended more on our social skills than on our individual capacity to survive. So, our social values became the driving force of the success of our species.
  • Love, trust, empathy, loyalty, and commitment are some of the emotional values that our social bonds are built from and that we associate our identity with.
  • If someone questions any of your emotional values, generosity for example, you may perceive it as a personal threat and not as a criticism of the value itself.
  • Why? Because our emotional values are the pillars of our social bonds, which is associated with our survival instinct, with our very own existence.
  • Living according to our emotional values is equivalent to being surrounded by our natural environment.
  • We have a Negative Emotional Quota that needs to be drained periodically. Every time we feel anger, sadness, fear or pain, we drain that Negative Emotional Quota, and that’s healthy. (monstrico in the cave with a chart of emotions next to it)
  • We are designed to drain this quota on a daily basis, and if you don’t spend it through Natural Emotional Stimulation, Monstrico will do it for you with cheap drama and negative thinking causing you stress, anxiety and depression. (Ask me)
  • That’s where Negative Thinking comes from and that’s why we are such drama queens. When was the last time you drained your emotional quota? What drama

Humans are wonderful creatures designed to cope with a wide range of emotions in order to grow and learn in an ever-changing environment. We are designed to drain an emotional quota periodically, meaning, if we are not exposed to an environment that stimulates our senses naturally, our brain will trigger meaningless drama in order to drain that emotional quota.