In your life, you are going to meet many people. Whether it be a corporate president or a homeless person picking through the trash, they will all have something to teach you. I guarantee that there will be something you can learn from everyone you meet. Some may find that to be a bold statement. Some may even laugh at the idea of learning from those who can't even take care of themselves.
Did you know that every person has a story?
They do, and every person's story carries with it a variety of lessons that we can learn from. Not only can we learn from the successful, who can teach us how to do things right, but also from the people who have failed in life, who can show us the pitfalls to avoid.
Think about these facts:
32% of the homeless have some secondary education and in certain areas, 1 in 12 holds a college degree. Most were married at one time in their lives and have raised a family.
Sounds more like a group living the American dream than headed for skid row, doesn't it?
So, what went wrong? Do you think it might be worth finding out?
These are extreme cases, of course, but we all know people who didn't travel as far in life as they were expected to go. When you look at those who people thought were "Most Likely to Succeed" and find that they ended up way off course, what do you suppose are the lessons to be found in their stories? When, and more importantly, why did their lives shift from the fast track to the slow lane?
"Experience is the best teacher."
I honestly believe that is a true statement, but nowhere have I ever read that it has to be your own experience that you can learn from. That is why I recommend that you study the lives of people who have found success in life and learn from what they did. It is also why I'm telling you now to learn from those who somehow lost their way: Where did they turn left when they should have turned right? When did they step back instead of stepping up or to the side? Their lives may actually hold more valuable lessons for you to apply to your own life.
One of the first steps to overcoming challenges in your life and finding the success you know you deserve is learning what not to do. Sometimes, what may seem to be right turns out to be wrong. Study history, both your own and that of others, and learn from all those past mistakes.
My challenge for you this week:
Chronicle things you have discovered in your own life or the lives of others that will impede your progress in advancing your personal and professional goals.
Pull out your list of goals.
For each goal, write down those thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that will stall your progress.
Pledge to avoid these mistake pitfalls!
If you want to minimize the cost of learning from mistakes, learn from the mistakes of others. You will find they are much less costly than making your own!