Old people are God’s assets to the world through the wealth of experience they have gathered over the years. They have many powerful life lessons that could impact the younger generations after them. Here, you will see 10 of those life lessons and how they can benefit you in life.
Experience is the greatest teacher but not everything needs to be experienced before you learn a lesson. Learning from the experiences of other people makes you a wise person, and if you want to learn only from your own mistakes, you might not come out with all your parts intact.
There are a lot of channels where you can learn new life lessons, we learn some lessons from interactions with friends, reading books, watching the TV, as well as our own experiences. However, the lessons you learn directly from old people are considered the purest and richest source of life lessons to guide your path through life.
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Why Old People’s Lessons Are The Best
Lessons from old people are unadulterated, sincere, and not without any ulterior motives. By old people, I am not referring to middle-aged individuals who just barely crossed adulthood. That is itself an achievement though, but the old people I am referring to are those who are quite aged or well-stricken in age.
Middle-aged people might still be holding on to their own biased beliefs and ideologies about life that may not be correct, but aged people give instructions based on sound wisdom about life.
Old people have nothing to gain or lose. They have seen the vanity of life and human activities, hence, they would not withhold from telling you the “truth” if you are open enough to learn.
They also want to teach you about their own mistakes so that you don’t repeat the same mistakes they made. Unfortunately, many young people are either too unavailable or arrogant to listen.
In the next section, you will see 10 of the most powerful life lessons you can learn from old people.
10 Powerful Life Lessons from Old People
Thankfully, I have been opportune to be very close to older people in my life. Here are the 10 most powerful life lessons I learned from older people and how these would impact your life.
1. Life is short; value it
Life indeed is short. If you have never realized this before, to show how true that is, older people will make you see that the entire past years feel just like yesterday.
They still feel like their young self only that they do not have as much strength as before. They wish to get back their strength and energy and they don’t enjoy some things that used to interest them.
Through their reactions to the transient nature of life, you learn to value your time and not waste it on frivolities. You also recognize the importance of your youthful strength to put it to useful work and to achieve the most important things in your life while you still can.
2. Don’t waste your youthfulness
Growing up as children, we all wanted to get older fast so we could get respected by people. Unfortunately, we all get to a point when we wish we could slow down time so we can be forever young.
That’s exactly what happens to older people. They hate to be described as being old, and a few of them might react angrily when you make them feel too old.
Youthfulness is one thing we all take for granted until we begin to lose it. Old people make you realize that your youthfulness is an asset you must not waste. It comes with the full capacity and ability to build up stores and reserves for your old age.
3. Life does not give an excuse to do regrettable things when you can
Many social vices and strange beliefs are surfacing in the world today. I heard of a man who surgically reconfigured his appearance to look like a dragon with numerous tattoos all over.
When people say “Enjoy yourself when you are young”, this has to be one of the most careless and nonchalant pieces of advice you can receive as a youth. In contrast, old people would tell you to live your youth with the future in mind.
Life does not give you an excuse to do regrettable things. You may encounter unexpected consequences for every action you do to yourself (health, mind, or finances) or other people. So, you need to be careful what you choose to do.
There are two categories of old people; those who made inexcusable mistakes, and those who got it right. If they are both sincere, you will learn the same lesson from both categories.
4. All is vanity
Have you ever asked an old person what their favorite food is? If you have not, try doing so this week. Old people often do not have a favorite food anymore. Nothing appeals to them like they used to be.
How much food can you eat per day? How much money can you spend on yourself per month if you have it all? How many cars can you drive at once?
Life is a rat race. Most of the things we run after are vanity, but we chase them anyway. Old people would always tell you to also make room for other more important things as you pursue these necessary vanities.
5. The little things in life matter
The little things – family, love, relationship – are what matters the most eventually.
Some of life’s greatest gifts are those free things we often overlook. Old people teach you that.
In your pursuit of everything desirable, try not to turn your back on the important things of relationships, family, and love. Striking a balance would be worth it eventually.
6. Everyone is important
No matter your size or level of wealth, everyone is important. It is easy to categorize people as unimportant because you are bigger than them. Old age teaches you the direct opposite.
Old people like to hang around younger people even if there is a large age difference between them. If you respect them well enough, they could even see you as their age mate.
At some point, they would need these younger people to do things for them. That is when you fully realize that no matter how much you attain in life, you will need people, great or small.
Wealth, fame, and influence can make you become arrogant to people but interacting with older people teaches you that everyone matters.
7. Being kind to people is a duty
If there is any group of people with the softest hearts ever, old people would rank only after children for obvious reasons. In a world where there is no reward for kindness, old people reignite the flames of kindness in our hearts.
When an old person sees you doing something remarkable and kind, they would come down to encourage you. They might give you a gift as a form of encouragement or advice to keep on being kind.
In a world where wickedness abounds, old people teach you that kindness is a duty and it is rewarding to have a clear and kind conscience.
8. Not everything can be physically explained
Science seeks to provide an explanation for everything but not everything can be physically explained, at least not yet.
Old people have seen uncertainties time and time again. They have seen things turn out unexpectedly so much that they have now understood that not everything can be understood from the realm of science, logic, and intelligence.
There is a lot to learn about our world. Not even a hundred years would be enough to learn everything. But for now, not everything can be physically explained. Do your bit and allow yourself to adapt well to the uncertainties of life.
9. Humility is a virtue
It does not take anything from you to be humble. Old people realize that there is nothing you or they can do to get older than them. So, they act very simply and maturely around other people.
Being too haughty and proud is an attribute of young naive individuals.
It would baffle you how humble some old people are. Well! There are some who are malignant, especially those who are experiencing difficulties with medical and psychiatric conditions. But generally, old people display respect and humility for everyone around them.
10. Face your fears
Many old people live with a lot of regrets about the things they could not do when they were young. They wished they had faced their fears and moved ahead with their plans.
The passion with which some of them pour out their regrets compels you to stand up and do things differently. This is the time to act fast and courageously so that you won’t have too many regrets when you get old too.
How to learn powerful life lessons from older people
Old people won’t just call you and sit you down to lecture you on wisdom. That does not convey the actual price of what they are giving to you. You need to earn it.
To earn it, draw closer to them, assist them, be respectful, and act deservingly. Below is a brief outline of how to win their hearts and make them teach you more life lessons that will improve your life.
1. Give them respect
Respect is the number one rule you must observe when dealing with older people. By virtue of their age and experience, they deserve to be respected and they often want you to give them that respect.
“It is only the child that washes his hands well that has the chance to dine with the elders”. Older people belong to an elite group and the only way to gain access is by according to them the respect they are due.
2. Know your place
When they allow you into their space, how would you behave? Would you begin to treat them as equals and lose your respect for them?
That is one thing older people look out for before they get friendly with you as a younger person. You must show and prove to them that you will not misbehave after they let you into their inner space, the exact same space where you get the most life lessons from them.
3. Listen more than you speak
You don’t talk more than an older person if you want to gain their attention. You are not there to teach them, rather you are there to learn from them.
When you speak more than you listen, they see you as proud and arrogant. There is virtually nothing you can learn from them that way.
4. Be physically and mentally present for their needs
When you have something to offer them, they are more willing to bless you with their wealth of knowledge and experience. Old people have needs and they require special care and attention.
By making yourself available to meet their special needs and take care of them, you pull a special string in their heart to give you all the wisdom they have too.
5. Make them feel how they want
Never call an old person who wants to identify as young old. Some old people prefer to be seen as young because they are trying to deny the fact that they are no longer as young as they used to be. This is also because aging suddenly feels just like a ‘yesterday’ thing.
If the old person wants to feel old or acknowledge that they are, make them feel that way too. To gain an old person’s acceptance, you have to accept them for who they are.
6. Be submissive when they are angry
No matter how angry an old person is, stay calm, quiet, and submissive. This shows them that you respect them, and that can prompt them to be more helpful to you when they are calm.
Times have changed, many things are different now. You need to understand that they may not quite agree with some of your ways of life. That may explain their occasional frustration, coupled with other health and age-related challenges they may be facing.
When an older person is expressing anger whether for irrational reasons or not, stay submissive and silent to hear them pour out their disappointment. When they see that you are not dismissive and arrogant, they will come to love you dearly.
7. Ask specific questions
Now that you have set the stage for them to teach you more powerful life lessons, be open-minded and willing to ask them specific questions. It shows that you are willing to learn from them.
For example, if you are having trouble finding a marital partner and you ask them for wisdom, they understand that you are humble enough to ask them for help and they would gladly help you.
The answers you will hear from them will not be related to any book you may have read or any other knowledge source you may have consulted but they will be out of pure experiential knowledge and wisdom that is very hard to find elsewhere.
Other areas you may want to get wisdom for include business, relationships, etc., and if the person had professional experience in any specific vocation of interest, ask them specific questions related to that vocation.
Some problems with learning life lessons from old people
While they offer great life lessons, there are some caveats to seeking wisdom from old people. Here are some of the problems you may encounter when seeking life lessons and tips from older people.
They can sometimes be too desirous of respect.
Some old people may offer negative life advice based on their own experiences.
Health issues may alter their behaviors, making them more aggressive and less receptive.
They might offer discouraging advice when they see that their efforts through life did not yield the desired results.
There are a lot of valuable life lessons you can learn from older people. Avail yourself of that opportunity by respectfully and humbly gaining access to their heart.
There are some caveats you might encounter, particularly when it seems like the older citizen has not reflected well enough on his past life and what he could have done better. Overall, old people have many powerful and valuable life wisdom to offer the younger generation. Be open-minded.
I am a medical doctor, a seasoned writer and passionate blogger. Thanks to many years of trials, failure, and near successes. I am the founder of Knowseeker and our content are geared towards enlightening and making you a better and happier audience.