Some of the largest impacts on my personal growth have come from spending time with older wiser people. Spending time with such individuals doesn't have to be planned or even obvious for it to reap large benefits in your life.
Throughout the year each of us spends time in large group settings where food is plentiful and conversation flows like wine. My favorite thing to do in such a social environment is to find the group of older men sitting around talking and just listen. I usually remain pretty quiet in these situations simply to soak up their wisdom. The topics of discussion are always wide ranging but provide some of the richest moments of any gathering.
Older men are full of stories, insight and wisdom that is ripe for the picking. One of the greatest sources of wisdom is older men a little farther down the road. These men have lived life, experienced both success and failure, and stand ready to share with younger men from their experience. When you find yourself in the midst of wise men, pull up a chair and learn something.
Learning is linked to our ability to listen. These men will rarely seek you out but are more than willing to spend time sharing what they have learned with anyone who will listen. Therein lies the key, we have to be willing to listen. Far too often we are “quick to think, quick to speak and quick to anger”, while we are should be the opposite.
The two greatest gifts a person can have are the ability to listen and a teachable heart. The great news is that both of these are something we each have the ability to do something about. We may not all be born with the same natural abilities but each of us is capable of listening and being open to the instruction of others.
Older wiser men are so precisely because they learned the value of these two traits or as Buck Parsons says, “As they aged they became great men precisely because they were great listeners.”
When you find yourself with older wiser men, do you pause to listen, or are you too caught up in your own mind?