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Learning from others is one of the most important ways to learn and grow as an individual. No one has it all figured out even if you are the most successful human on earth. And no one has all the information he or she needs to succeed even if you are the smartest human on earth.

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No matter the information or expertise you have, you can get a little more perspective and depth by bringing yourself to learn from others. This is because our backgrounds and experiences are different and each of the experiences we have had go a long way in shaping our perspectives on things.

A note of caution, however, you must be careful when learning from others. Ensure you evaluate everything and not make the experiences of others your principles. The factors that played out in one’s success may not play out for you. In the same vein, the factors that play out for their failure may play out for your success.  

There are many ways you can learn from others and I will be sharing with you 3 of the ways you can learn from others. 

Observation is probably the oldest method of learning from others. As kids, we learnt most of the things we knew from observing our parents and others around us. I once read the story of a young lady who always cut off the dough before she begins baking.

One day her husband asked her why she always did that but she did not know why because she had seen her mother do the same. So they decided to go ask the lady’s mother and it appeared that she did not know why too as she had learnt it by observing her mother.

Fortunately, the mother was still alive and they had to go ask her. She smiled and told them that she did that because she had a small baking pan. 

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Two generations carried on something without knowing the reason for it simply because of observation. Can you imagine how effective that is?

Learning by observation will require that you pay close attention to the person you wish to learn from, picking out important information from mostly the things not said. Learning by observation is most effective when it comes to improving your soft skills.

In learning through observation, some of the things to look out for include:

  • The actions they take 
  • Their body language or movement 
  • The way they treat or relate with others 
  • Their dressing 
  • Their leadership or management style

By Listening To Them

The second way to learn from others is to listen to them. Listening to them could come in two ways, direct and indirect. When it comes to listening directly, you do that through personal or group conversations. You can engage in personal conversations with others, listening and asking questions with the hope to learn. Also, you can learn by listening within a group setting such as a classroom, conference or workshop. 

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By Reading From Them

Reading as a method of learning from others is a method that was made popular by formal education. Today, there is practically no topic you cannot learn about simply by getting a book on it. Most authors and writers put into books form their insights, knowledge and experiences. So reading a book written by someone could be said to be equal to you listening directly to the person. 

Closing Thoughts

Learning from others does not take away from you instead adds to you. However, learning from others will require a great degree of humility from you.

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This article was first published on 4th June 2022


Ifegwu-Mbonu Victor is a Personal Growth and Leadership Trainer who provides training and coaching to individuals and organizations.

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