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Friday, November 10, 2023

Lean Quote: Four Lesson Learned From Service This Veteran’s Day

On Fridays I will post a Lean related Quote. Throughout our lifetimes many people touch our lives and leave us with words of wisdom. These can both be a source of new learning and also a point to pause and reflect upon lessons we have learned. Within Lean active learning is an important aspect on this journey because without learning we can not improve.


Today is Veterans Day Observance. To a lot of us, it means no school, lots of doorbuster sales and, hopefully, a day off from work. The meaning of Veterans Day can be of little insight to those who have no family members or friends who have served time in the service. But, those who do may see the importance of today a little clearer. 

We have supported our loved ones through their times of self-sacrifice and loyalty, as well as the most demanding, dangerous, terrifying and noble times. Their acts of valor trickle into their civilian lives, and we dedicate this day to them. 

In honor of the veterans, here are four valuable lessons only a strong-willed veteran can teach us civilians about life: 

1. Learn from the past 

“Those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it,” said George Santayana, a philosopher. There are historical precedents for many of the battles that are fought in the military, and the same is true of medicine. If you study the past objectively and think about how it turned out, you will have a clearer vision of how you should proceed. Don’t repeat other people’s mistakes. 

2. Make a plan, but don’t be tied to it 

“Plans are useless, but planning is indispensable,” said General Dwight D. Eisenhower. You have to be prepared to accept that your plan might not work. But, the fact that you went to the trouble of developing the plan will prepare you to know where to pivot. 

3. Anticipate problems 

“Every battle is won before it is fought,” said Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu. If you spend all your energy telling yourself how great your work is, you will believe it. Instead, put your energy into finding the weaknesses and anticipate the problems. Then solve them before they happen. This means realizing your biases and resisting them. 

4. Ask for help 

Lastly, learn to ask for help when you need it, take care of the relationships that sustain you, and allow yourself the privilege of taking care of yourself when you can. Remember that you are human, even when the situation seems inhuman. 

The best thing you can learn from a veteran is to appreciate where you are at this moment in life. You have the ability to determine where life takes you. Most of that freedom wouldn't be ours if it wasn't for the men and women who devote their lives to make America what it is. This day is for you; we salute you for your bravery, your perseverance and your passion for our country. 

Happy Veterans Day! 

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