The Benefit of Learning from Others

by | March 26, 2010

“I will not only use the brains that I have, but all that I can borrow.”
-Woodrow Wilson

While on your academic journey, you may find yourself coming across others that will inspire changes and growth within you. As others influence you, you too will influence them though your own insights into life and learning. We find ourselves playing dual roles of both teacher and student—after all, life is not a solitary occupation, but one to be shared. Sometimes, it is those who challenge us the most that we learn the most from.

*One of the ways in which we learn from others is in how we give and accept feedback. Quality feedback can evoke many different types of emotional responses; some positive and others negative. It is normal to want to invalidate feedback from others when we feel uncomfortable with what we hear; being told we aren’t right, or that we can do better doesn’t always feel good.

*Allow some time to process the information you are given. This is one way of avoiding this type of negative response.

*Ask clarifying questions; this too can also aid in the acceptance of feedback.

*Be descriptive, clear and professional in your communications to others. Judge the feedback, not the person. Often times it is easy to misread tone in words and become angry or upset when viewpoints are challenged, but it is through professional, scholarly debates that we learn and grow as individuals, and how we continue to move down the path as life-long learners.

Alair Altiero

3 Responses to "The Benefit of Learning from Others"

  1. Tiffany @ Passive Income says:

    One can definitely learn a lot from both positive and negative feedback. The key is to not get depressed or defensive about negative feedback and instead grow and learn from it. Your advice about allowing some time to process the information is spot on. Too many times people jump to conclusions way too fast and cause more harm in the end.

  2. Alair Altiero says:

    Thank you for your post, Tiffany. I believe it is within our human nature to respond, initially, to both positive (and especially) negative feedback with emotion, as opposed to rational thought. By taking just a few moments to separate emotion from the information we are being given, we are able to learn and grow from our experiences, not only in our academic journey, but in all areas of our lives.

  3. Sherry Pearson says:

    Tiffany,
    Yes, I am learning not to take everything given as a personal issue and or a negative battle needed to be won. But, I am learning the more I ask questions and issues to be clarified the more I learn. Also, there have been times that I did not agree and I am sure the reader felt the same way. What, I did is to look-up more information and research the comment that was made and I was able to find out that the point made was of good reasoning. Then I to had to realize that I do not have all the answers and that this is not what the learning experience is all about. Our learning experience is just that, and if I am to gain more knowledge then I must be open minded and continue my research.

    Sherry