Billy's Blog
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March 20, 2018, 8:21 AM

Listen To Those Before You

I am currently the father of three teenagers...two boys and a girl. Do you remember being a teenager? I remember thinking that my parents just didn't know what I was going through. They had been teenagers so long ago that they just didn't understand what I was going through at the time. I was tempted to not listen to them, because I had decided I didn't really need their advice. Then you turn 25 and you start looking back and mysteriously your parents got a lot smarter. It's amazing how that works. 

I am currently doing some reading through Proverbs and was reading in chapter four where Solomon writes for us to listen to him as a son does to his father. He also says that he was a son to his father and needed to listen to him. Solomon understands that not only should some people gain wisdom from him, but he also needs to gain wisdom from others. We have much to learn. 

I have always sought out a mentor. I have always looked for someone older than me to gain wisdom from so that I can be a wiser person. Here are some good things to think about when it comes to gaining wisdom from others. 

1. Don't be the smartest person in the room all the time. 

Some people like to be the smartest person in the room, because it boosts their ego. But it's kind of a like a high school basketball player always playing against fourth graders. He appears to be really good compared to everyone else in the gym, but he'll never get better playing fourth graders. The truth is that he's really not that good. He has fooled himself into thinking he's better than he really is. The same is true of life. If you are constantly placing yourself in situations where you are the wisest and smartest person in the room you'll never grow and you'll never learn. You'll appear to be very wise, but the truth is less flattering. 

We need to surround ourselves with people that challenge us and inspire us to be better, smarter, and wiser. 

2. Invest time in learning from others. 

Seek out people that have been where you are trying to go and spend time with them. There are many people right around you who can increase your wisdom if you'll just take the time to do it. I look around my church building on Sunday mornings and see so many people have so much to teach me. I get to teach them from the stage each week, but I know that I have much to gain from them. I have sought several of them out to learn from them and just ask them about life. I have a good friend who has three grown daughters who all are serving the Lord. I have asked him about raising my daughter to do the same. He has much to teach me. I have men and women who have been leaders in the business world. They have much to teach me about leadership. Invest some time in learning from others who have already been where you are trying to go. 

3. Listen. 

We've all probably been taught about the difference between hearing and listening. We physically hear a lot of things that we don't catch. Listening is about tuning in. Listening is about focus. Listening is caring about what you are hearing. When you seek out people to learn from you need to actively listen. When I go to conferences and learn from people that I want to hear from I take notes. I take lots of notes. My hand cramps up after some classes. I want to listen. I want to learn. 

4. Be humble.

Proverbs 16:18 tells us that "pride goes before destruction." If this is true then the opposite is also true...humility goes before victory. If you are going to learn from other people you have to be humble enough to admit you don't have all the answers. Here's the don't have all the answers, so just fess up to it. 

I heard an older man tell me one time that the older he got the less he knew. This was not really true. What he was saying is that the older he got the more he realized he didn't have all the answers. The older he got the more willing he was to admit that he didn't know everything...or much at all. This is called humility. Humility is NOT self-defeat or some negative view of yourself. Humility is a realistic view of who you are. Humility is accepting the fact that you are flawed and that you need help. 

When you surround yourself with people who are smarter and wiser than you it's hard not to be humble. When you are always the smartest person in the room you feel pretty good about yourself. The Bible tells us that if we exalt ourselves we will be humbled, and if we humble ourselves we will be exalted. When we try to make ourselves look better than we are we always look foolish. But when we admit where we really are and desire to learn some really great things can happen. 

Imagine your life as a river. A river receives water from other places and then passes it on. It never gets stagnate. The river takes in water from creeks and other sources and passes it on to other larger rivers or even the ocean. You take in wisdom from many places, but it doesn't stay with you. You pass it on to others. Don't allow your life to get stagnate. Take in the wisdom, learn from it and pass it on. 

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