There are two great teachers in life: Your experiences // Other people’s experiences.
Take for example my poor dear sister, Beth. When we were both children there was a persimmon tree in our yard. Persimmon trees produce an eatable fruit called, strangely enough, persimmons. When they are ripe many people enjoy eating them. However, when they are not ripe (green) they are very, very bitter.
One day while Beth and I were playing under that persimmon tree I convinced her that the green persimmons (the ones not ripe) were the ones that were sweet and the orange-colored persimmons (the ones that were ripe) were the ones that were bitter.
Reluctantly my sister took a bite of one of the green persimmons; you should have seen the look on her face! I don’t know if I got in trouble for that mean trick or not (I should have) but I do know Beth learned something from that experience that day. Minimally she learned:
- Green persimmons are bitter.
- But more importantly, brothers are not to be naively trusted.
But here’s the problem with learning by your experience—you don’t have enough time or stamina to gain the experience required to succeed in life to the level God has planned for you. After all, who wants to go through life eating green persimmons?
However, if you are willing to learn from other people’s experiences you can gain great wisdom and knowledge at a rapid pace—with the added benefit of not having to endure the painful (and sometimes bitter) experience that comes from going through things first hand.
The ONE THING for today: Have the humility to learn from others.
- Observe others and take note of things to do and not to do.
- Ask questions constantly—questions designed to learn, not questions designed to just carry on yet one more meaningless conversation. (And remember: Everyone is your superior in some way.)
- Surround yourself with good teachers–not mischievous brothers and other bad company. (There are some things you do not need to learn and if you do its best to learn it from a far distance.)
And if I could add one more thing: (the TWO THINGS for today) Don’t waste a single experience.
It may have been painful, embarrassing, devastating, and humiliating. But if you learn from it, in the long-run, bad experiences have a way of turning into blessings.
Proverbs 13:10 (NKJV)
10 By pride comes nothing but strife, But with the well-advised is wisdom.
Proverbs 13:14 (NKJV)
14 The law of the wise is a fountain of life, To turn one away from the snares of death.