If you are always the smartest person in the room, you aren’t going to grow.
Obviously, this is a principle and not an absolute, but what’s been a life-altering lesson for me to learn is that regardless of my position, status, or achievements in life (or even a lack thereof), my life will have an upward trajectory if I am continually open to learning and gleaning from others who have already been on the path you are currently on.
And so will yours.
I remember meeting an older gentleman at the gym; he was so kind, wise and very book smart. He knew a lot about everything and had several degrees. But what I loved about him most was his humility.
He was the kind of guy that seemed so willing to impart his wisdom to me, almost like a father figure.
I was always caught off-guard when I would ask him a question and he would tell me he didn’t know the answer. This was a little shocking to me because I never thought of wisdom in this way.
I thought if I were going to be a wise person I needed to know the answer to everything. This was probably because I never felt good enough. If I got an A, I was mad that I didn’t get an A+. I thought if I didn’t know the answer to a question, there was really something wrong with me.
But that was a lie.
In all honesty, I would often make up answers to appear smart; I thought I had to know it all— if I didn’t, I thought I was stupid. But this man changed the way I thought. I knew he was wise and I saw in him an even deeper wisdom when he would admit to not knowing the answer to a question; that changed me. It may sound small to you, but isn’t it often the small things in life that can bring about the most change? I believe it is.
If we have our learning eyes and ears tuned into all circumstances and situations around us, we will find learning everywhere we turn.
Learning is wisdom. And wisdom is what we pass along to others to help them.
When I was fighting cancer, I knew I needed people around me who knew more than I did, people that were educated in this area, people that had walked this road before that from whom I could gain knowledge and wisdom.
After I won my battle, I got to write a book about how I overcame cancer and give it as a gift to anyone who needed hope for their journey. It brought me so much life to help others through what I had just been through.
I would say this is how God created us: to learn, and then pass things along. That’s why I believe God set up the world in families. If you think about it, we were all born into a family, some more functional than others, that’s for sure. But still, we were all born into a ‘community’ of people that help us to learn things we don’t know how to do.
Our parents had parents and that’s how they learned. I know none of us had perfect parents, nor were we perfect parents ourselves, and if you don’t have children yet, just know you won’t be perfect either.
But there is always learning to be had from those who have done what we have not done before.
Even if it is how we don’t want to do things, there is value in that as well. If we look for the value, we will find it.
So make a list and pursue the people you can learn from.
Get ready for greatness to come about in your life.