I’m not sure if people are just shy, humble, dumb, or just selfish when sharing their life experiences. Whatever it is, it is the single most significant waste of knowledge and learning opportunities ever. I believe that this loss of wisdom is greater than the loss of a species, and the result may be the degradation of the human species.

Simply put, we are a race with total disregard for the lessons learned during our lives. Gazillionaire Andrew Carnegie, the great Carnegie steel empire founder, was also a philanthropist and donor of over 3,900 libraries to American Cities. Carnegie once said, “Isn’t it a shame that men and women spend their entire lives accumulating knowledge through the trial and error method and at a point in life when one is just about at his or her heights in wisdom, death strikes them down, and all of that vast storehouse of knowledge and wisdom, and all this know-how of success goes to the grave.”

The question is, what have you learned from your successes and mistakes, and did you make any changes or adjustments based on this knowledge? One of my treasured mentors would beat into me that a mistake is only a mistake if I didn’t learn something from it. If I did learn something from the mistake and took action on it, then it was a lesson. More importantly, did you log that lesson into your memory banks to utilize and share at a later date?

Each one of your experiences and lessons is individual and unique. However, many of the people I deal with every day are dealing with issues that they have experienced but do not honor that experience by reminding themselves of the previously learned lesson. We must learn to refer back to this goldmine of experience and knowledge. It allows us to solve problems quicker and move faster. My mentor, the legendary personal and professional development expert Brian Tracy, has a technique for doing this called KWINK. KWINK is an acronym for Knowing What I Now Know. He teaches that when you face a personal or professional issue, slow down, take a moment and KWINK it. Ask yourself, Knowing What I Now Know, based on my experience, would I do this again? Would I hire the same kind of person again? Would I make that decision again? The technique works. You have to remember to do it, but it works!

Use your experiences, both good and bad. More importantly, share those experiences with others when appropriate. How much smarter would the world be if everyone shared their acquired knowledge? Someone once said that it’s great if you can go to college and learn. But the real learning comes after college, in the real world where we will make mistakes and hopefully learn from them.

It’s a blessing for me to be around people who are open to sharing their real-life lessons. If I just shut up and listen and learn, I know that my life will be more comfortable with this information than without it.

Be the blessing and honor your past by learning from it and sharing it.

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