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woman with pencil in hand sleeping with head on desk next to a pile of books

As we walk our life’s journey, we basically have two choices when it comes to learning: we can learn on our own, or we can learn from others. Learning on your own is a good thing, and I highly encourage a self-taught education in many arenas of life; however, there are many benefits to learning from others and choosing to have mentors in your life. Learning on your own can be hard work, and many times people, when working toward a goal, take the time to reinvent the wheel when they don’t have to. This is where learning from others can come in mighty handy. Sometimes it’s good to reinvent the wheel – other times it’s not. Today I’ll share a few reasons why learning from others can produce immense benefits to one’s growth and productivity.

Learning From Others is Easier than Learning on Your Own

It’s SO much easier to learn from others – especially in the area of mistakes – than it is to insist on doing it on your own. If you’re willing to heed the wise advice of those who’ve walked the path before you – such as parents, grandparents and others – you’ll gain the benefit of knowing what to do to avoid those same mistakes yourself.

This fact reminds me of a Bible verse from the book of 1 Corinthians. In Chapter 10, verse 11, Paul is teaching the people of the dangers of sin. In it, he says, talking about the Old Testament stories of those who sinned against God and the destruction that followed:

“Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted.”

Paul was trying to teach the Corinthians to learn from others’ mistakes and not make their own, so they could avoid the trouble that breaking the rules brings.

When my little brother was 4, my mom was ironing in the living room, while us kids sat close by. She had to leave the room, so she instructed little brother (no need to instruct me – I was a well-behaved child 😉 ) to NOT touch the iron. Mom, being older and wise, already knew that the iron was hot and could cause pain – she had learned that lesson. The minute she left the room however, Greg went up and put the back of his hand on the iron. He just couldn’t resist the temptation to learn for himself whether or not the iron was truly hot! Little brother still has a scar on that hand to this day, some 40+ years later.  Learning from others is definitely easier than learning on your own, as Greg found out. Luckily, he’s gotten better with age at learning from others’ mistakes. 🙂

Learning From Others Saves Time

Learning from others is an immense time saver compared to having to learn things on your own without any help. My husband has done dozens of do-it- yourself home repairs that he had absolutely no experience in completing, saving us a plethora of time and money. Learning to do those repairs could’ve taken days and sometimes weeks had he started from scratch and just went about finding a way to complete them. Rick saved loads of time, however, by watching instructional videos on YouTube before he started his repair projects. By learning from others in this way, he was able to mimic their process and save our family time and money.

Choosing to Learn from Others Keeps us Teachable

Have you ever met somebody who simply refused to be teachable? Someone who refuses to be teachable is often dealing with pride. Unhealthy pride can make us embarrassed to admit we don’t know everything, so instead we simply pretend we don’t need to know what is being taught. Choosing, however, to stay humble and be eager and open to learning from others helps keep us teachable and flexible. Staying teachable and flexible enables us to be ready to embrace new opportunities that come our way.

In my humble opinion, everyone needs a mentor and can benefit from the knowledge that mentors can bring into their lives.  Choose to take advantage of the gift of learning from others and improve your life in the process.

Do you see value in learning from others?  Who has been a favorite mentor in your life?