We rarely ask this question of others either when we first meet them or over time as we get to know them. It is an important question, that at the very least we should ponder, when seeking help or advice from someone.
It is the key question that we should ask ourselves. You see our knowledge and “their” knowledge is all based on where you have been. Some call it “street smarts”. Setting school aside, in life, your experiences deeply shape your thinking, perspective, and possibilities.
As I have gotten older I am learning to seek out those whose experience is wider and greater than mine. All of us travel in what I would call a familiar circle that reaches out only so far. For some, it may only be as big as a neighborhood that they have lived in all of their lives. For others, it may be much larger.
Books are a great way to expand our perspective and learn about the breadth and depth of other people’s lives and other types of knowledge. While they help bridge this gap there is no substitute for experiencing life (both its good and bad) first hand.
I find those that have dealt most with uncertainty, ambiguity (and find themselves in contact with new people and things often) are the most interesting people to talk to and learn from.
There is a maturity to their perspective that is calming. There is less fear in their lives for they seem to understand that life is never perfect, that a lot of things repeat themselves and are not unique to just me or you, and that with both options and time most things will pass. They have less certainty in their lives which frees them to focus more on simply trying and spend less time worrying if they will always be right.
Today’s popular words are to “get out of your comfort zone”. My suggestion is to try to meet people who have and gain confidence by listening to their stories and their struggles. They can help you find a path “out of your comfort zone”.
Too often we get trapped in our lives when this never happens. Our possibilities and opportunities never appear around us because our experiences are too small to see them. We make the mistake (I have many times) seeking advice and direction from people whose experiences are too similar to mine and too small. The result is that I found myself “spinning my wheels” thinking I was moving only to find that I was stuck where I was.
Travel often, embrace new friends, and visit new places. When you least expect it you will find your world expanding step by step. The paths to realizing your possibilities and opportunities will then slowly come into focus.