Learning from other's experiences

The problem: Learning from other people's experiences is difficult.
Even if you want to use every opportunity to learn, learning from other's experiences is far more difficult than learning from your own experiences. And there might be even a bunch of people who (full of love for you) insist in trying to help you in avoiding the same pitfalls they have fallen into.

The reason: Reliability of external information
If you feel inner resistance to fully incorporate other people's experiences then keep in mind that this is an automatic precaution feature inside of you and this is fully ok. Experience explained to you by others does not have the same quality that your own experience does. Learning from experience is learning about action or event and the resulting reaction or effect. During this learning process for each learned lesson the following are important parameters:
  • Age of the experience (recent experiences are more relevant than older ones, and the older an experience the more details potentially get forgotten).
  • Exact environment (you cannot expect - at least not always - the same result under different environments). Parts of the environment can be any sort of group (family, patients in a hospital, political groupings, ...), weather, physical location, country, personal situation or mood of present people, your own personal situation and mood...
  • Exact action taken
  • Other simultaneous actions taken by other people
  • Time of result to take effect (this might be strongly relevant for the reliability of the conclusion).
  • Exact result
  • Side effects
  • Interpretations (your own but also the interpretations of other people involved).
  • Exact final conclusion
When making your own experiences you have a better overview of everything relevant. Experiences of others automatically already get filtered by their interpretations and are limited to their recordings.

The solution: Take in all experiences and informations thankfully but prioritize.
Take external experience as repository for possibly valid "rules", but prefer your own in case of conflict. In some cases your own experience might be very outdated that a recent experience from somebody else might fit better with the current reality, but on the other hand the result might depend on the concrete person acting (as it would be when attending a beauty contest ;-) ).
There are two types of people when they raid you with their life lessons or good hints: Those who want to help you because they love you and those who are searching for attention and self-affirmation. You might feel resistance to the latter but keep in mind that listening to other's experiences does not force you to incorporate foreign life-lessons. Be thankful instead that they share their experience with you.