Bought Wisdom is Better Than Taught Wisdom

My great-grandmother once said, “Bought wisdom is better than taught wisdom.” It was a lesion that didn’t make sense to me as a child. But as I grew older, I found it to be true.

What she meant was that you will learn more as you make mistakes and grow from the experience than anything anyone teaches you.

My daughter went to Korea last year. She had never flown anywhere on her own. As I took her to the airport the morning of her departure, I gave her some instructions on how to not lose her money and be safe. She quipped back to me, “DAD I KNOW WHAT TO DO… MY PARENTS HAVE TRAVELED A LOT!” I kept my mouth shut.

When she landed in Inchon, she got ripped off by a cab driver taking her into Seoul. She called me several days later and said, “A taxi driver overcharged me on purpose because I didn’t understand the currency he wanted. Trust me, it will never happen again. I have learned a lot by this experience.” I know what she meant. I learned the same way when I traveled alone… by making mistakes.

The truth is that you will learn more from what you experience in success and failure than you learned in most of you schooling. Life will teach you more than any textbook you used in classes. When I started working in church right out of seminary, I had to hold meetings with committees, work with those who held influence among the congregation, teach other to lead as volunteers and develop relationships that conveyed trust. Not one class I took in high school, college or seminary taught me those skills.

Oh, I learned a lot about the history of the church, controversies in the 1800s and how to parse a verb. Not one class was ever offered to teach me how to do the work I would do in my day-to-day career.

You will learn more as you experience success and failure than anything anyone teaches you.  This is bought wisdom.  It isn't something you learn from a lecture or a textbook. It is learned from (as my grandfather said) the "school of hard knocks."  As life knocks you down, you learn to avoid the pain and make adjustments that will prevent you getting knocked down that way again.

How can you use this to allow your team to learn from their mistakes and make the changes you know they need to make?  How can you "supervise" their failures and help them learn and grow from them?  Until you do, your teachings are falling on deaf ears.  They will learn as they fail... and move on.

Resolve to Limit Yourself!
You Can't Motivate Another Person

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