Life is a continuous learning experience. Throughout this journey called life, we make several mistakes, which hopefully we learn from. And although learning from our experiences (good or bad) is a great way to reach our destination, learning from others can be more efficient and effective. Why is learning from others so important? Because there are so many people you will meet on your journey who have been down that road, stumbled, and solved some of the problems you will face. And even though now they might be heading toward a different destination, learning from their experiences will help you avoid some of the snares on the road, thereby, accelerating your progress.
I have been thinking about this subject matter for some time, because I find this topic to be increasingly important. Learning from the people along my journey (e.g., my mother, other relatives, teachers, mentors and even strangers on the train) has been a valued advantage. Being an entrepreneur whose company’s product is telling stories (i.e., important life lessons), I always look forward to meeting people, interacting with them and learning their stories. I have come to realize that one of the most practical and efficient ways to reach my goals, is by listening to people and learning from their experiences.
Learning from the successes and failures of other business owners, as well as my own, have shaped me into the entrepreneur I am today. I often attend business networking events, and at one of them, I learned that being a successful entrepreneur does not mean you cannot take advantage of other people’s experiences, in fact, it is just the opposite. Most people, including myself, often decide to start a business because they want to work independently. That, however, does not mean you must learn everything the hard way, that is, depending solely on your own trials and errors because that will delay your success. No matter what difficulties you might be facing in your specific niche, there is someone who has faced them already and found a solution. Learning from such people, through books, life lessons online, or face-to-face interactions, will help you progress faster. Outlined below are some of the important lessons I learned from others, as I continue my journey toward my goals:
- Inaction is the real failure
As humans, we are programmed to be afraid of failure. It is humiliating, it hurts, and it can be demoralizing. We are so afraid of failing that we often fall into the trap of not doing anything at all. But, we ignore the fact that failure implies that we have made an attempt, and that the more we attempt, the more likely we are to succeed (provided we take failure as a learning experience). This is a lesson I learned from Kathryn Schulz who argued that, “as with dying, we [successful people] recognize erring as something that happens to everyone, without feeling that it is either plausible or desirable that it will happen to us”. Failure can actually become a good thing when you have this kind of mindset. Inaction, on the other hand, is not beneficial simply because not trying anything gets you nowhere, and that is the real failure.
- Celebrate each little step
That major goal in which you are investing so much time and energy is, ultimately, a combination of little steps. It is important to acknowledge this if you want to reach your destination. This is important because the road leading to your destination is full of challenges and setbacks which might take you off-track especially if you are only focusing on the destination and ignoring the journey itself. Celebrating each little step will keep you motivated and on-track until you get that big result.
- You won’t be loved by everyone
As you travel through life’s journey, you want to be praised and appreciated for your efforts. Unfortunately, not everyone you come across will appreciate you. Understanding this truth will help you avoid living up to other people’s expectations and goals – it will help you to live your own life. Don’t spend all your time thinking about what other people are going to think about you. Focus your energy on what you think about yourself, your goals and your ambitions. It is practically impossible to please all the people around you, even if you choose to do what they want you to do, so why even bother? Stop worrying too much about what others think about you and invest that energy in building yourself.
Learning from others is a valuable asset each of us need to enjoy. One of the keys to wisdom is learning from your own experiences. Another key is learning from the experiences of others. This is a great way for you to save time, money, and agony. Adopting this philosophy will help you make better life choices.