Recently, I was privileged to be in a room with five particular individuals I respect very deeply. Each of them was a leader and teacher in their field, and together they had nearly two centuries of work experience. Though I had significant experience of my own in my realm of interest, my contribution to the meeting was minimized by the overwhelming breadth and depth of the work of those around me.
Developing oneself, especially in an academic setting, can be difficult. Most often, the reason education on a particular topic or subject is pursued is a lack of expertise. This ignorance leads to an inability to learn and prepare to learn potentially damaging in the long run. Knowledgeable elders can serve as mentors who help the inexperienced avoid the potholes which accompany experimental wandering.
Young people, whether young in age or young in understanding, your charge is to listen. Making yourself available for any learning opportunity will change your awareness and sensitivity toward every interaction. The more you are available to learn, the more you will learn. The wisdom of experience is a treasure to be passed on to you if you are only willing to watch and listen.
Older people, whether advanced in age or advanced in understanding, your charge is to invest. Making yourself available for any teaching opportunity will change your awareness and sensitivity toward every interaction. The more you are available to teach, the more you will help others grow. The wisdom of experience is a gift to be passed on from you if you are only willing to invest and teach.
Everyone knows someone who knows more than them. Leverage the expansive experience those persons bring to the table, and use it to fashion your own educative path. Human beings are made for community. If your community is not a resource for you, it is a hindrance. Pursue those who are wiser and more experienced than you, and achieve your potential with the help of others.