My mom would take me to her Nursing Home as a kid. I’d spend days wandering and talking to people while she’d work–8,12,16 hours. The more time I had the more friends I made. We’d play Bingo, cards, dominoes. It was a good time. But what I gained most from it was an appreciation for their stories.
They could tell stories for hours. Older or More Experienced people have always surrounded me.
By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.Confucius
Bright eyed; Bushy tailed. I listened for days.
That appreciation for the saga’s of people journey remains in me, but today I actively search for the lesson in each epic. And to leverage their wisdom I ask them: If you could go back in time to when you were 24, would you do it again or would you do it differently?
I share with them a moment where they get to look backwards and make a choice. Sometimes I feel as if I’m right there with them. Often the decisions they’re making resound deeply with my situation. I watch figure out do I go out on the limb for love, do I jump without a parachute into my business, do I quit life and travel the world.
You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. Steve Jobs
Today most of the stories I hear come from folks half the age of those in the nursing home. They come from friends in their 30’s, colleagues in their 40’s, and clients in their 50’s. All of it has lateral application. There’s something to learn in all of it. And I ask all of them the same question after every saga. If you could wind back time–would you do it differently…
Hindsight is the best teacher. Learning from the hindsight of others gives me confidence and context when I chose my worldview and make decisions for myself.
If nothing else, it’s a good story and I’m a boy cuddled up to hear it.