Learning from younger people

I have this problem. It’s a little embarrassing, but I want to get better. And I thought maybe it might be a problem some of you have too. 

I have a weird problem taking advice from people younger than me. It makes me feel uncomfortable, as though I’m failing somehow. 

Yes, I’m aware this is incredibly narrow-minded of me. Especially because I’ve been on the receiving end of the abuse that kind of mindset can cause.

Back when I first started this blog, I was the manager of a shoe store. And I had an assistant manager who was a bit older than me. She was in her forties and I was in my twenties. She got hired a few days before me, as a part-timer when I was hired as an assistant. When I became manager, she was my obvious choice for assistant.

Well, she wasn’t really. I shouldn’t have done that. Because she never missed a chance to make me feel like I was screwing everything up. 

Spoiler, I wasn’t. I had the job because I had years of retail experience and management experience by then. I was qualified for the job, she wasn’t. But that wasn’t enough to knock that chip off her shoulder.

Alright, I didn’t tell you all that just to complain. I did it mainly to point out that I should know better. And if I don’t learn from the experiences in my youth then I’m a garbage person.

I don’t want to be a garbage person. So, here are four reasons why I’m trying to listen to younger people.

So many young artists are just killing it

I follow several people younger than me on Youtube. Caitlin’s Corner, Amanda Rachel Lee and Temi. They are all inspiring, upbeat, helpful women who are creating great content. They also happen to all be younger than me. 

This doesn’t stop their videos from being a bright spot in my week. And they’re far from the only ones. Artists, writers, singers, online business people are all out there doing great work in their twenties. And I don’t want to miss out on that work.

They have different life experience

Let’s go back to my example from the shoe store. I was qualified to be the manager over my older assistant because I had led a different life and made different decisions. Those decisions meant that, despite my age, I was more qualified for the job. 

What kind of asshole would I have to be to not realize that other people have that same experience? While I was working retail and writing books, Amanda Rachel Lee was learning to design bullet journals. Of course, she can teach me a thing or thirty-seven about them. Temi was devoting herself to improving her art. She can draw like no one I’ve ever seen.

We have got to value the experiences of others and the lessons they’ve learned from them. That’s why it’s so great that we’re all different. I can learn from them, and others can learn from me and all the effort I’ve poured into being a writer.

They have the experience of their elders to build on

Let me tell you another story. When I was growing up my grandma was good with computers. I mean, for the time. She taught me to use her old pc. She taught me to go online, access things in DOS, all that. So, when I started using computers myself, I had that foundation to build on. I didn’t need to learn it all again, so I could go steps farther.

Every generation has the experiences and lessons of the ones who have gone before them. There are lessons they don’t have to learn. I didn’t have to sort out how to use DOS, I was told how. So, I could put that time into going further.

The same can be said for younger people. They don’t have to reinvent the wheel, they’ve got it. They have time to discover and tackle new problems. Then, reach back and help us with those. 

I wanted to be listened to when I was younger

Scratch that. I want to be listened to right now. I’m only thirty-four, turning thirty-five in June. I think I have things to teach people older than me. And I know for sure that I did when I was younger. So, of course, other people can teach me. And if I want to be a better person, as I always do, I need to be willing to learn.

So what do you think? What lessons have you learned from people younger than you? Let us know in the comments. 

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