Life experience is one of the most valuable sources of learning we have.
For as long as humans have been around, we have passed information down from generation to generation. From personal experience people have learned which plants can make you sick, which ones can heal, how to build a decent shelter and how to start a fire.
These ancient lessons, passed down from elders, clerics and chiefs were valuable in ensuring the survival and well-being of entire communities and was held in high regard among the people.
Unfortunately, today life experience is not held in such high esteem.
There is an overwhelming perception that a person’s advice can only really be trusted if they have a degree or certificate to back it up. There is an element of distrust that is permeating through a whole new generation who tend to approach these things with an element of wariness.
This is a great shame as behind each and every one of us is a wealth of valuable information just waiting to be shared and it is high time we realise just how vital life experience is.
Here are three ways to harness the power of life experience and how you can use your own experiences to help others.
The first step is to actually listen to people when they are sharing their life lessons.
Let the person speak without interruption and really drink in what they are saying.
This person may have been through the exact same, or similar, thing you are going through right now and has had first hand experiences on the issue, allowing you to learn from their mistakes.
It is important to listen without judgement. Its easy to look back on things with hindsight but at the time he or she was likely doing the best they could.
Hearing how they dealt with the problem may inspire you to make a more informed decision about how to deal with what you are currently facing.
For example, someone who went bankrupt will be able to tell you what they would have done differently. The way they handled the issue may not be right for you, but their experience can help you learn.
2: Ask questions.
When the person has told their story, ask questions!
One of the best ways to learn is through asking questions, and seeing as one question may lead to three more, its best to ask all the questions that come to mind in that moment and learn as much as you can.
People who are open to sharing their life experiences will be happy to answer any questions you may have about how they handled the issue or how they got out of a bad situation.
This will help you to gain more clarity and understanding about your situation and allow you to feel more comfortable about making a decision and moving forward.
3: Share your own experiences.
Let’s not forget that you also have experiences to share.
You may be able to use your own experiences to guide people though something you have firsthand experience with.
Sharing stories can inspire others, and I share my own experience with cancer to help support and inspire others who are either going through their own treatment or supporting a loved one.
By sharing your story with others, you could be providing them with that ONE thing they need to gain clarity right right there in that moment.
You never know what someone is going to take away from your story but you can be sure that your experience will leave them better informed then they would have been had you not shared your story.
Sharing stories and experiences is the most ancient form of learning and communication, around even before the written word.
It is important that in this modern age that we don’t discount the lived experience of others.
These stories helped our ancestors with the problems of that age, so too can our stories help us through our modern-day issues.
It’s nice to know that although the world around us is changing rapidly, that some things such as sharing stories have remained consistent since the dawn of humanity.