The older I get (at a grand old age of 26) the more I realize how little I know. But instead of spending all my time trying to learn everything, why not learn it from those with experience? Not everyone who gets advices learns from it. So I want to suggest to you two characteristics you need in order to gain experience from others.
1) Learn to Listen
The old saying is that we’ve been given two ears but only one mouth. Yet it seems like we do a lot more talking than listening. In order to learn you need to be willing to listen to what others have to say. Give them your full attention. The very act of learning means we need to be willing to invite input from others in our lives. But how do we know who to listen to?
First, I would start with the older people in your life. They have much experience already, so why not learn from it? A second place I would look is podcasts. There’s some very wise and knowledgable leaders out there and the best part is you can listen to them whenever you want. I would recommend asking your friends what they listen to. Right now I’ve settled on my favorites and they’re a great source of wisdom.
2) Learn to Trust
A key part of gaining experience is learning from others’ own experiences. A danger is that we can build up our listening skills but then completely ignore what is being taught to us. It’s very easy to make excuses when we don’t like what we hear. “They’re just old-fashioned” or “if they were in my shoes they would see it this way”. Learn to get rid if this thinking and learn to trust them.
How do you know who to trust? Start by looking at their track record. How much experience do they have in this field? Did they apply their own advice? Then bounce their advice off of someone else you trust. Obviously this will depend on who and what your topics are, but go with these first. Proverbs says there is wisdom from many counsellors (Proverbs 11:14). In fact, the whole book of Proverbs is about passing on experience and wisdom!
If we can learn from the failures and successes of the past we can move confidently into the future.