How only learning from the best may not be the best idea
I started reading books to learn from the best in the world. I started following and attending talks of ‘successful’ people to learn from them for advice ranging from general life advice to tips on how to ace my exams. It did turn out well, I learned the tips and tricks of the best, I even started applying those in my life which worked to some extent. Reading, waking up early, planning your day, working with no regrets, taking risks, and facing failure head-on were among the long list of general but to some extent cryptic advice I learned from the anecdotes from their lives.
All this priming engrained those higher set of values in my head, maybe not with the complete nuance of it. There are layers to the advice given by them, and it turns out to be true most of the time because they have walked down that path. Although true learning happens through experience, this helps to navigate the journey easily.
But the problem is, that sometimes it’s not relatable. They have their own circumstances, their unique path, and inclinations. One size fits all does not work all the time. Following that advice to the core as gospel truth might lead to frustration and disappointment. A feeling of not being able to reach their standards. Most ‘successful people have gotten famous relatively late in their lives, and so for a young person to take lessons from people of a different era adds to the problem. I agree that some lessons may be universal, but somethings somewhere can be challenged by a new generation. So, if we only take in advice from the ‘older successful’ people, there would be something missing from the picture.
While in school or college, it’s not just the ‘learned’ professors who contribute to the majority of the learning. Peer groups, people with whom we can relate, and those who might have just understood a concept a little better than us or had a different approach may teach us profoundly. We feel comfortable, understood yet challenged to compete when given the opportunity to learn from a peer group. Learning this way may not be effective to some in comparison to reading books or attending lectures, but it is something that complements the whole learning.
While self-learning is one of the key ingredients people miss. We took learning from our peers for granted. It’s not just about asking stupid doubts or taking cues from the other’s strategy, it’s also about feeling inspired that if they can do it, I’m not much different. When peers give advice it's tailored with their own similar experiences, fresh in their minds adding nuance to the conversation. You can challenge their point of view, add something new or collate everyone’s idea to form an understanding in your mind. Meaningful engaging discussions are an important part of learning.
While reading books and attending talks from the ‘successful’ people has surely helped me, blogs or videos by the people I could relate to, going down similar paths with similar circumstances have given me hope of new possibilities.
Peer pressure is not always bad, it becomes valuable if you choose the peer group that’s right for you, be it in person or digital.