Learn from Others by Asking in the Right Way

Over the years, I’ve seen a pattern with successful people: they learn from the experiences of others. If they can learn from someone else who’s already done it (whatever “it” may be at the time) instead of wasting time and energy making mistakes, they do. This doesn’t mean that successful people don’t make mistakes or learn the hard way. They absolutely do. But they supplement their learnings with those of others.

Improving decision-making based on others’ experiences is easier said than done. It’s important to ask in the right way. First ask the person you’re talking to if they’ve ever been in a situation similar to the one you’re trying to deal with. Only if they say they have should you go on to ask what they learned from their decisions. This does two important things: First, it helps you learn from people who are credible. If the person hasn’t experienced a similar situation, it will be apparent and the conversation will end quickly. (You don’t want advice from someone who knows less than you do!) Second, it doesn’t put anyone in the uncomfortable position of telling you what to do. Instead, they’re reflecting on their own experience. It’s still up to you to digest the information and make a decision.

Experience is a big factor in good decision-making. It’s why people who are more seasoned in life are so wise. They have more life experiences and learnings to pull from. If you’re looking to accomplish something great, consider incorporating the experience of credible people into your decisions. It will help you avoid major pitfalls and get you to your destination much faster.