Here’s where to look for some of the best teachers life has to offer
I recently wrote about the surprising happiness boost that can come from cultivating your casual relationships, for example your hairdresser, barista, fellow dog walkers and spin class participants.
As I discuss, part of this is because job opportunities and other connections often come from this circle of low-stakes friendships.
Why? In short, we know almost all there is to know about our close friends. We know their passions, their connections, and we know at least a bit about their closest friends and family members. Their lives contain few surprises.
In the same vein, the older I get, the more I realize these relationships do more than simply provide us with an extended network for new opportunities.
We all know and understand there’s a lot to learn from the people around us. Our families, close friends and co-workers are valuable teachers and I, for one, know with certainty I’ve gained more life lessons than I can ever count from those dearest to me.
I’m realizing, though, it’s often the people not closest to us, and maybe often the people we don’t even particularly like, that can have the most to teach us.
We all like to think we know it all, don’t we?
Confidence is a sought-after trait, though the line between confidence and ego is very fine, indeed.
When it comes down to it, though, the older I get the less I think I know for sure. Now, more than ever, I recognize how very much is still out there for me to learn, and how very likely those lessons will come from the most unexpected places.
I’ve written before about the humbling lesson on kindness I learned from an acquaintance. I’ve also shared how much an old friend taught me about the importance of acknowledging people and letting them know I appreciate them.
As I look back over my life, there seems to be a trend I can’t ignore: some of my valuable lessons have come from the unlikeliest of sources.
I firmly believe everyone has something to teach us. It takes intentionality and practice, though, to open our eyes to these waiting-to-be-discovered lessons.
Eyes Wide Open
There’s no silver bullet for instantly being receptive to life’s many lessons.
The first step is having an open heart, and an awareness that everyone, no matter their job or status, has something to teach us.
Go into every conversation, every interaction, with a willingness to hear whatever it is you need to hear.
Look back on past encounters and tease out the lesson, even if it’s a painful one.
Lastly, be grateful for all those whose paths cross with yours. We can learn from each of them, if only we’d listen.