Updated: June 29, 2019
They say that experience is the best teacher. That’s why when we fail or make a mistake, the optimistic view is to learn from that experience.
I was once deep in credit card debts. It came to a point when collectors started calling my house and harassing my parents to pay my debts.
That was an experience that taught me to never become reckless with my credit cards ever again. It was a turning point in my life when it comes to how I use credit cards.
A Better Way to Learn From Experience
Being able to learn from our own experience is good. But it’s better (and less painful) to learn from the experience of others.
In my years of being an entrepreneur. I’ve been able to start several businesses that earned good and I can confidently say, became successful.
But also, I’ve put up a lot of businesses that eventually failed and closed down. However, I am fortunate to have never experienced going into personal bankruptcy whenever a venture failed.
I was never all-in with my finances whenever I go into a new business. Also, I never started a venture unless I have enough capital and a sound business plan. These are just some of the key lessons I learned from other successful entrepreneurs.
Using their experience, which I’ve read in books, heard in seminars, and watched in documentaries — I was able to avoid devastating business mistakes.
The Best Way to Learn From Experience
Learning from the experience of others is not just about avoiding their mistakes. Beyond the obvious, we can apply empathy and learn from their mindset at the time when they committed those mistakes.
This is the best way to learn from the experience of others. A strategy that will teach you important lessons, which many will miss out on.
A friend shared to me the other day how his former college classmate got scammed by a fake investment company. He shared to me what happened, and told me his realizations.
He says that from now on, he will always be careful whenever someone is offering him a guaranteed, zero-risk, investment. He also says he won’t ever be lazy to do due diligence on a company offering any investment.
“That’s great!” I told him. “But have you ever thought about the reason why he invested in that company in the first place?”
He was silent for a moment, and then he replied. “He has a lot of debts, and the investment seemed to be the answer to his prayers. I can say that greed also got the better of him.”
“So,” I continued. “Imagine yourself in that situation, wherein you have a lot of debts that you can’t pay. I know you won’t fall for the investment scam. But what would you do instead to fix your finances?”
“For starters, I would ask you for financial advice.” he wittingly answered.
Learn With Empathy
We should take our failures and mistakes and learn from them. If given the chance to learn from the experience of others, then take those pain-free lessons as well.
But to optimize your learning from the experience of others. Give it a little empathy and imagine yourself in their situation. And then try to understand why they made those choices, which eventually turned out to be a mistake.
This activity will teach you more than just how to avoid their mistakes. But to also recognize the situation if ever the same happens to you.
And because you’ve already imagined it before, you will most likely choose the best available course of action. You know not just what not do to, but more importantly, you know the right thing to do.