UpliftAnother1

Building Community Through Better Relationships

Get An Old Man

Two Men Talking 2

“You have to get an old man” advised the half-crazy upperclassman tutor to a group of freshman trying to survive their first term at an elite university. The freshmen were baffled how an old man could help navigate their coursework. Then, the tutor elaborated that the old man was for wisdom, not education. This was real-world knowledge. In any complex organization, success requires more than raw, intellectual firepower. Negotiating cultural landmines and systemic distractions requires understanding and revelation that only comes from wisdom. Figuring out any large institution demands more insight than any one individual can acquire in a few months. It takes scar tissue to navigate the intricacies of complex systems. Why not benefit from someone else’s wounds?

Wisdom
“Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterward.”, according to Vernon Law. Wisdom comes from learning the lesson and surviving to tell the story! Lessons are not simply endured, they must be learned. Old men have already learned the lesson. Imagine the advantage of having the lesson before the test. Youth involves absorbing experiences for the first time. The advantage of maturity is knowing that someone’s first time, is most likely not the first time something happened. Youthful exuberance does not provide that perspective. Every old man was once young. Identify one that has walked the trail that youngsters are preparing to walk. Realize that the old man does not just know the challenges, they know how to avoid them.

Results
Another benefit of old men is that they have seen great ideas come and go. They have seen talented people long on vision and short on execution. They understand that results matter! The upperclassman had personally witnessed brilliant students that struggled because they had always excelled alone. They had never needed help, so never learned how to ask. Corporations, academia, bureaucracies are full of these types. The wise old man knows what newbies need before they do. He is not competing for a grade, or a promotion. He wants to be part of their success. Wisdom will be shared with someone and it will be valuable. Get in line and receive it.

The most fascinating part of engaging an old man is what he gets out of the deal. Some youngsters avoid bothering an old man because they have nothing to offer back. Their intelligence blocks their understanding. They assume they cannot reciprocate, then applaud their brilliance. Old men vary; often relevance is all they seek. Other times it is repaying an internal debt from when they finally accepted wise counsel. Occasionally, they see the greatness in a potential protégé that the youngster is afraid to embrace. Regardless, seek wisdom. Wisdom does not follow age. But, wisdom ages well. The old man does not have to be old. It does not have to be a man. Mentors only require understanding that can guide toward a desired result. Get an old man. Then later, remember to find a young person!

By Glenn W Hunter
Principal of Hunter And Beyond

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March 22, 2017 Posted by | Better Community, Better Person | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment