“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.”
“Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.”
“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is to not stop questioning.”
“By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.”
“Any fool can know. The point is to understand.”
“When you stop expecting people to be perfect, you can like them for who they are.”
“Learn from the mistakes of others. You can never live long enough to make them all yourself.”
“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”
“I have never met a man so ignorant that I couldn't learn something from him.”
“If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later!”
When I think of learning I think of two kinds; knowledge and wisdom.
Knowledge is what you learn when you go to school. You learn facts, figures, dates, people, formulas, etc. Some of this is will be useful (like logic and problem solving) while plenty won’t have much effect on your life.
Wisdom, on the other hand, is what you have been doing your entire life, even if you don’t realize it. Wisdom is learning through trial and error. It’s learning through pain, torment, success and failure. It’s the slow process that has played out every day of your entire life. It’s the reason you are the person you are today.
When I think of learning, I think of the wisdom you gain from experience. And I think of how we all can supercharge this process!
Unfortunately, many of us stifle ourselves from learning wisdom because learning through experience almost always comes with risks. You have to take action and take risks. And with those risks come the chance for embarrassment and pain. To learn valuable life lessons, you have to do things that make you vulnerable. Then you have to deal with whatever comes as a result of that vulnerability. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, and most of the time you’ll be uncomfortable. Regardless of the outcome, however, you are winning because you are learning. And there lies the power in learning to be wise.
The thing about attaining wisdom is you have to seek it out. You have to view new experiences as a well of infinite wisdom, and then you have to pursue them fully. Otherwise, you’ll just stick to your routine bubble of comfort—which is what most people do. Bubble of comfort is the road that leads you to mediocrity. It’s that winding, dangerous looking road through the Sherwood forest that leads you to the riches of life. Always take the latter road as you venture through life. I promise you, you’ll never regret it later on.
Ok, I know this all sounds a bit esoteric so I’ll give you a few examples of how you can take more risks and garner more wisdom in your life.
You don’t just have to take action to gain wisdom. There’s actually another way that I wholeheartedly recommend. It’s books. You can learn from other’s lives by reading their story. Books, biographies, articles, blogs, and even, talking with people, are immensely valuable ways to learn from other people.
Start reading material that will make you a wiser, more aware human being. Instead of watching your typical YouTube fare—cat videos and random prank nonsense—try watching a few TED talks. Instead of reading the latest Twilight novel (nothing against that, just in moderation), try reading some nonfiction or a biography of someone you admire. Instead of gossiping with a friend over coffee, try asking them about their profession like an interviewer or investigative journalist might (they’ll appreciate the interest in what they do). You’ll not only connect with your friend on a deeper level, but you’ll also learn something you may not have known. You’ll be that much more worldly, experienced and knowledgable.
Make It A Habit
You have to making learning a habit. You can learn from everyone and everything in life. And you should. But you have to open your mind and put in a bit of extra effort. Once you get the habit down, it’ll come naturally. The most successful are always the most curious.
When I was younger, I worked multiple part-time jobs the way everyone does when they are 16 and wanting to get their first car. I worked at a movie theater, two restaurants, and a golf course. And while I remember various things about the businesses, I wish I would have paid more attention. I wish I would have had conversations and asked the managers about numbers, operations, and so on. These were prime opportunities for me to learn about business and people in different industries. Had I the wherewithal to take this approach, I would have had valuable knowledge and experience (wisdom) that would have served me years later when I opened my own businesses. Of course, as it goes for most 16 year olds, I didn’t think like this. So I missed out on an amazing opportunity to learn that was sitting right in front of me. At least I now know…
What’s ironic about this is I wouldn’t hesitate for a second to go back to these jobs and work them for free if I had the need or desire to learn those businesses. This is ironic because had asked my 16-year-old self to work for free in exchange for “learning,” he’d probably tell you to “go to hell.”
Ahhh, C’est la vie.
We all learn and grow on a daily basis, but some of us do it better than others. Some of us hold ourselves back because we want to protect our ego, while some of us dive head-first into whatever we are doing completely eager to learn and experience new things. Be the latter. Trust me, be the latter!
Learn from everyone and everything you can. Seek wisdom by doing, knowledge by reading, and both by living.