You’re Learning – But Who’s Teaching?

Good morning!  I hope your day is off to a nice start.

My weekend was spent in a recliner, whining about my back, and taking pain meds pretty much around the clock. The good news is, after 8 hours of work, our car can now be towed behind the RV. Better still, we didn’t damage the car in the process. Of course, it’s still sitting in the driveway, so the jury is still out on what happens when we actually hook it up.

I’m not sure my wife has complete confidence in me. Probably because I told her about the emergency mechanism that will stop the car in the middle of the road if the entire trailer hitch falls off. If it does, you can blame that one on the factory. But sometimes, details aren’t entirely helpful. Now she has a vision I can’t quite get out of her mind. And I put it there. Color me stupid.

I have to say, YouTube is the greatest creation ever for those of us who need to do something we’ve never done before, especially where the cost of failure is so high. On the other hand, when they wheeled me into the operating room for brain surgery, I was relieved to see there wasn’t a “how-to” video queued up for that one. So, I guess I understand my wife’s concern.

Every day we do things without even thinking about them. They’re second-nature. Yet most of those things had to be learned at some point in our life. Some we learned on our own, others we were taught. I’m pretty sure I never showed my grandson how to climb the cabinets to reach what’s on top of the refrigerator. But I did teach him what happens when he does.

Mentors play a huge role in our lives. We often don’t even think about it, because they’re just there – some get paid, and others don’t. Some are a lot better than others. Some can lead you to incredible success, and some can only teach you how to fail. That’s why it’s so important that we try to choose our mentors wisely.

So, here’s something to consider. If you wanted to learn to fly a plane, would you ask your best friend, or look for somebody who’s actually flown a plane? You know, more than once. I took a few lessons in 1976, and even landed three times without crashing. Oh, I came close, but we eventually ended up on three wheels.  Want me to be your instructor? I didn’t think so.

Now, let’s say you’re looking to start a business. You have a dream, and some notion of how you plan to achieve it. All that’s left is putting the plan into motion. So, what’s the first thing you do? Well, you call your drinking buddy and ask his opinion, right? He’d never steer you wrong. Besides, he’s been out of work and looking for ways to make money, too.

Sadly, that happens more than we’d like to admit. We put our complete faith in the hands of somebody who, if they really knew how to make extra money, would already be doing it. Yet, when somebody comes along and offers to share what’s working for them, our first reaction is to shut down and run. “What’s in it for him?”

Well, that’s something to consider. What’s in it for the other person, and how much will it cost you? Valid questions, to be sure. But also consider the possibility that the other person just wants to help. Have you ever taught somebody how to do something for nothing more than the satisfaction of watching them succeed?

One of life’s greatest rewards is to become so good at something that we can pass it on to others. Because, in doing so, in watching somebody else succeed at something we’ve learned, we’re creating a legacy that will live on long after we’re gone. It’s validation that something important to us is also important to somebody else. It’s a gift we both give and receive.

When I tore the front end off our brand-new car Friday, I followed a video. Not the advice of a friend or a “how-to” manual written by somebody who’s never done the job, but a video of somebody actually doing it. And it didn’t cost me a penny to watch that video. It was there, free of charge, for anybody willing to tackle the job on their own.

Choose your mentors wisely. The ones you think have your best interests at heart aren’t always the best to teach what you need to know. Sometimes you need to take a leap of faith and put your trust in people and ideas you hadn’t considered before. Sure, you can still lose. But nothing ventured, nothing gained. Is your dream worth the risk? There’s your answer.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

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