The best way to grow is not to reinvent the wheel but learn from others
Though nobody can go back and make a new beginning… Anyone can start over and make a new ending.” — Chico Xavier, a Brazilian philanthropist
Did you know what you wanted to do with your life growing up? Did you know what kind of person you wanted to be? Did you want to be like someone else?
When I was growing up (and still a little bit today), I thought others had their lives figured out. However, I soon realized they were struggling with the same things I was wrestling with.
“We are products of our past, but we don’t have to be prisoners of it.” — Rick Warren, an American pastor
I realized that I could learn a lot from others. This would help me achieve my dreams and goals. I love reading self-help, business, and personal development books and articles. It helped me become a better person and grow faster.
When you learn from others, you grow yourself. I realized I borrowed ideas, concepts, and strategies from other people smarter than me.
Here are seven life lessons I have learned from people smarter than me. Let’s dive in.
1. Think Before You Speak
This life lesson is about considering your words before you say something or respond to someone’s comments. When you think before speaking, you consider how your words will impact other people and their emotions.
What thoughts should I keep in my head, and what thoughts should I speak?
I used to rush to respond to people and not think before I spoke. I realized I needed to step back and think things through before speaking. Throughout my life, I have interacted with many intelligent people who were good at thinking before speaking.
The key is building a habit of self-reflection and carefully selecting the best thoughts to communicate. Now I take time to think about what I am pondering and determine what views are best to share and those that are not. This has helped me with my emotional intelligence.
2. Work Smarter, Not Harder or Longer
It took me a while to learn this life lesson. It would be best if you work smarter, not harder or longer. To achieve your dreams, you must outsmart others, not necessarily work harder or longer than everyone else.
Time management is not about how much time you spend working or how hard you work but how well you spend that time when you are working. For example, I learned from Guy Kawasaki, one of the Apple employees originally responsible for marketing the Mac computer. He said that when a boss gives you a project, you should develop the framework or outline of the project, then share it with the boss.
This process will help ensure you don’t “spin your wheels” on getting it right the first time. Typically, Kawasaki said that when you return to the boss with your framework or outline, they will share details you were not expecting, didn’t communicate well the first time, or there was one crucial detail that changed everything. All that time you spent on getting it right the first time would be wasted.
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3. Don’t Compare Yourself to Others
“Comparison robs you of joy. Learn from others. Don’t compare.” — David Meltzer, a speaker, author, and entrepreneur
Focus on being the best at what you do. You will succeed if you don’t compare yourself to others. Measure your life based on how much you have improved, not your chapter 1 vs. someone else’s chapter 20.
I learned from that “competition is bullsh*t,” and you should compare yourself to who you were 12 months ago. Tim is an intelligent man with a massive following. He didn’t get his followers by comparing himself to other writers. Would I like to have a following like him someday? Sure, but I don’t compare myself to him.
You won’t feel good enough and satisfied if you compare yourself to others. The only person you should compare yourself to is you. Are you a better person than you were yesterday?
4. We Have to Go Through the Darkness to See the Light
“In order for the light to shine so brightly, the darkness must be present.”— Sir Francis Bacon, former lord high chancellor of Great Britain
Research has found that people who lived through post-traumatic growth report positive changes in their relationships with others and a better appreciation of life. Obstacles, problems, and roadblocks are opportunities to grow and learn.
Hard times can make you stronger and more successful. Tough times are opportunities because they are an inflection point where you turn the bad into the good.
I’m a testament to that. I was handed the pink slip on a Friday afternoon at my old PR firm in Chicago. It was the best thing to ever happen to me in my career. The problematic situation provided me with greater opportunities.
When I was growing up, I idolized Michael Jordan, the most famous basketball player in the world, like many other kids. He was cut from his high school’s varsity basketball team. This helped motivate him to become a basketball legend.
Tough times help you develop character and become a better person. See obstacles as growth opportunities. Negative experiences can make you stronger and more resilient. You can’t control when or how hard times will impact your life, but you can control how you overcome them.
5. Your Mind Takes the Shape of What You Consume
You become what you see, listen to, and read. It’s one of the most fundamental laws of human psychology that took me a while to learn. The thoughts you think come from the information you consume.
Every piece of information you consume impacts your mindset. The media type (i.e., blogs, books, social media, movies, and TV shows) you digest impacts your life. Your thoughts and actions will become more harmful if you consume negative information.
I learned from Tony Dungy, an author, sports analyst, and former professional American football player and coach. He said that what you envision takes shape, so choose to imagine a life that you want that impacts others positively. Be careful not to soak in information that negatively impacts your thoughts, feelings, and actions.
You can become a product of your environment, so you should be careful about what information you consume. Fill your life with positive, uplifting, and inspiring information, not negative, pessimistic, and depressing information.
Bringing It All Together
There are five lessons I have learned from people smarter than me. They are to think before you speak, and work smarter, not harder, or longer. Don’t compare yourself to others, we have to go through the darkness to see the light, and your mind takes the shape of what you consume. The best way to grow is not to reinvent the wheel but learn life lessons from people smarter or more experienced than you.
“Every defeat, every heartbreak, every loss, contains its own seed, its own lesson on how to improve your performance the next time.” — Og Mandino, an American author
CONTRIBUTED BY Matthew Royse
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