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What Did You Learn?

“You get your wisdom from in here,” he poked him in the chest at his heart. “You learn it through your experiences, not what you listen to. That experience you had today-I could have told you about that but you wouldn’t have got it, you had to feel it and experience it.” Then he looked up at the young man and gave him a huge smile. He said nothing and waited for the young fellow to reply.

Later I thought about this conversation and I realized what a gift this was. To be reassured that your experiences are valuable. How often do we stop and support a friend without giving advice or telling our own story? I wish I could say I did but often I am so ready to share my knowledge that I don’t stop to pause and say “Hey that’s really cool. Thanks for telling me what you learned.”

And you know what else? I rarely stop, pause and smile to reassure, because I am mostly in my own world ready to tell my tale. But when I slow down, get out of my own head and observe, I experience and share more. This whole interaction between a young twenty something fellow and a man probably 30 or 40 years older taught me much about taking the time to have a meaningful conversation. I think that I am helping someone by giving advice and letting them know what worked for me, but wow, what if I just validated their own ability to learn? What if I encouraged experiencing life and learning along the way? So there you have it, a snippet of a conversation I was fortunate to be part of that changed my way of thinking. Next time I want to be the one that smiles and waits for you to reply.