Wrong people will teach you the right lessons.

It is an immutable fact that we learn by example.

How very interesting then, that we are able to learn from both positive and negative examples. 

It is almost the opposite of learning through empirical knowledge. The precept, “hot don’t touch,“ gives us first-person knowledge of learning from something that is a negative experience. Conversely, we are just as able to learn from watching somebody else doing something negative which then causes our own negative reaction to such. 

As I came up through the world of Hollywood, it was still the remnants of the generation of misogyny. I would see how certain of my clients would treat their female employees. It was so disparate from the way that my father treated my mother, that I was struck by the contrast. I had not been around people who were misogynistic as I was growing up, so I was trying to understand why the set of values were so prevalent in the work world that I was emerging into.

I had one client who had a total of six sexual discrimination lawsuits against him and he was still behaving in a matter that embarrassed me every time I was in his presence. I have no doubt that in watching his behavior, I became that much more aware of how I did not wish to behave.

There are plenty of negative examples from which we might derive our life lessons. Some of them are fictional and the others are real. Some we see in person and observe firsthand, while others we read about or hear about on the news and we derive our lessons. 

I believe that if a human being starts with a good basis of morality, which presumably is taught in the home, then that human being is more likely than not to have enough of a barometer as to distinguish some of those lessons with black and white appearance. 

But what about those lessons that are much more subtle shades of gray? What about the lessons that are akin to making a decision that might be altruistic in terms of financial gain, but moralistic in terms of being fair and honest with the people with whom you are dealing? Where do all of those much more subtle lessons get taught? 

Are they observed first person through other parties? In which case you are potentially learning them from the wrong person? Or do some of these lessons require more of an empirical experience in which you might make the wrong decision at some point in your life and then reflect on the negative consequences that arose from having made the choice that you made? 

There are so many things in life to learn, it is wise to be observant of both positive and negative people, for in that process, you are facilitating your own internal guidance system, which will serve you with an inestimable value over the course of your lifetime. 

Happy Thursday!

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Written by Brian Weiner
When I was 5 years old, I discovered that the lemon tree in the backyard + dixie cups + water and sugar and I was in business. I have been hooked on that ever since. In 1979, I borrowed $14,000 to create a brand new product... photographic greeting cards with no text on the inside, called Paradise Photography. That was the start of The Illusion Factory. Since then, The Illusion Factory has been entrusted by all of the major studios and broadcasters with the advertising and marketing of over $7 billion in filmed, live, broadcast, gaming, AR, VR and regulated gaming forms of entertainment, generating more than $100 Billion in revenue and 265 awards for creativity and technology for our clients. When I took a break from film school at UCLA to move to Hawaii, my mother did not lecture me. Instead, she took 150 of her favorite aphorisms and in her beautiful calligraphy, wrote them artistically throughout a blank journal. That is the origin of the Lessons from the Mountain series. Since then, on my journeys to the top of a mountain to watch the sunrise, I have spent countless hours contemplating words of wisdom from the sages of all races, genders and political persuasions, constantly accumulating the thoughts to guide me on my life path. I hope you enjoy my books. Please let me know your thoughts, as I highly value your feedback!