I’ve been writing about personal finance and personal development for quite a while, and one thing I learned is that you can’t force people to learn, even if the lesson is helpful and will be beneficial in their future.
For example, I can write and talk about the importance of emergency funds, living below your means, delayed gratification, and investing, but as long as someone is not yet ready to learn or does not see the value of learning them (yet), it is almost impossible to teach them.
Similarly, you can share what you learned about personal finance, investing, and how to avoid wasting money with your friends and family, but if they are not yet in the emotional and mental state to accept the lesson, they may just get annoyed, so it may be better to direct your focus on someone willing and interested to learn.
Like what they say, people only pay attention to things that interest them. So, even if there are lessons to learn right in front of them, they will only see the opportunity once they are ready.
Unfortunately, many people waste the best years of their lives doing counterproductive things that can even hurt them in the long run.
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Don’t Correct People Who Are Not Yet Willing To Learn
Another important part of this lesson is to avoid correcting people or giving advice to those who don’t want to be corrected or advised because they may get defensive or offended.
As the Bible says, do not rebuke a scoffer, or he will hate you; rebuke a wise person, and he will love you (Prov. 9:8).
This may be frustrating, especially if you care about the person and want them to avoid costly mistakes. However, sometimes, the best thing you can do now is to be an example.
Be an example, but also be ready for frustrations.
Similar to how children learn and acquire good behavior, not through empty words, but through example, adults are similar.
However, for most adults, the impact sometimes only happens if the example is shown by someone they respect or admire.
I learned this from my interactions with some of my family and friends. Since I learned about personal finance and living below your means earlier, I also wanted to teach them so that it is not only I who will benefit. Unfortunately, some didn’t listen and continued with their impractical lifestyle.
Then almost a decade later, one of them (a seafarer) was telling a story about how his captain lived a simple life, not spending lavishly, and invested in his home province, and he also wanted to emulate it.
I liked that he finally saw the importance of personal finance and simplicity in his life, but I was also frustrated that he never listened to me when I told him about the same thing years ago.
These occurrences happened several times, which taught me that people need someone they respect or someone they view above them before they listen.
Still, it is important to be an example to others, so I started this blog and shared what I learned through social media, like Facebook. It’s just sometimes sad when people you don’t personally know believe in you more than those closer to you.
Sometimes, we just have to let them make mistakes.
According to Warren Buffet, it is good to learn from your mistakes. It’s better to learn from other people’s mistakes. I agree with this statement, but others are just not as welcoming to the opportunity and prefer to learn independently.
So, for someone who wants to learn from the mistakes of others, they will gain the advantage of saving themselves time, energy, effort, and money. On the other hand, those who prefer to learn from their own experience may have a challenging time.
Emotion and discipline are crucial when building better habits and learning through experience. You can read every book about a certain subject, but as long as you don’t change your behavior and act upon that knowledge, it won’t be very helpful.
As perfectly summarized by Tim Sanders, education without execution is just entertainment.
When they are ready, they will find a teacher.
Remember when you first understood the importance of personal finance in your life and that you wanted to also share them with your friends? However, they will just get annoyed if you force it on them.
Then years later, when they realize that they wasted their time, they will just tell themselves, “I should’ve listened earlier.”
Once they have decided that they want to learn about a certain subject, they will go out of their way to find a teacher or mentor, enroll in classes to further their education, and read books and resources about the topic.
After learning about a subject that interests us, we also want to tell it to others, especially if we know that it will be beneficial to them.
However, we need to be careful about oversharing and knowing if they are as interested as us. It can also be on other topics aside from personal finance and personal development.
Sometimes, the best we can do is to set an example, let them learn at their own pace and time, and be accepting if they ever come for advice.
But if that day finally comes that they are ready to learn, they will definitely find a teacher.
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