What We Can Learn From Others

We can learn a great deal by observing and appreciating the insight of others.

When I was in 10th grade, I had the opportunity to be the class president. With that honor, came the responsibility of selecting a cabinet of peers to accomplish our work. To serve a class of 700+ students, we had plenty of tasks to go around: we needed a class historian, a videographer, a prom committee chair, a publicity artist, etc.

That year, I selected cabinet members from amongst my natural peer group. They were all talented and enthusiastic, and we had a successful year.

When I was re-elected the following year, our class adviser asked if she could help me to select the cabinet members. I gladly accepted her help and was amazed by what she came up with. She chose students from all walks of life, in all levels of academic classes, and from all different peer groups, and yet, she chose brilliantly. Each person was so well suited for his or her position; that year (and the following year) were effortlessly successful. From her experiences as a teacher and coach, she knew how to identify gifted and dedicated people who would bring diversity and effectiveness to a team. I soaked up her wisdom.

I still remember one of her choices: a student named Genevieve. I didn’t know much about Genevieve, and never would have taken a second look at her.  How humbling to quickly realize that she was possibly one of the most confident, intelligent, gentle, artistic, and willing young women in our entire class! How wonderful to have enjoyed her talents on our class cabinet!

I learned that, although we can make many good choices, we can also make even better choices, some of which might not come instinctively. I learned that if I stepped back to watch other people make wise choices, I could begin to appreciate their insights and learn from their experience.

I learned another valuable lesson in those formative years: that the hidden talents of others might only be hidden to me, until I found eyes to see.







3 responses to “What We Can Learn From Others”

  1. Faith Avatar

    So true, I often wonder what I might be missing in others. I try to pay attention because I know I have so much to learn.

  2. Genevieve Avatar

    A long time ago, I memorized a quote by John Wayne that your post called to mind:

    “Smart people learn from their own mistakes, but the really intelligent fella learns from the other guys mistakes… Pilgrim.”

  3. Rachel Avatar

    I LOVE this post. Thank you for sharing your insight. I am constantly amazed at the strengths others have when I open my eyes to see who people really are. It’s not always easy, but I am blessed so much when I do 🙂

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