Wisdom and knowledge are distinctly different. Seeking one without the other is potentially menacing.
My entire life, I have been fortunate to have close connections with people twice my age. Even into my career, wherever there has been an opportunity to sit in the presence of a wise, seasoned veteran of life, I have jumped on the opportunity.
In a world where we seem to overvalue youth and undervalue age and the wisdom and experience that comes from it, it’s important for us to seek out opportunities to connect with the latter. This only became apparent to me recently when I reflected on the impact individuals twice my age have had on my life throughout the years and on the tremendous value that these individuals have added on all levels.
Whether it was preparing for marriage, a career shift, or a continent shift, the shared wisdom, and experiences shared by these seasoned veterans of life helped me make the best possible decision at the moment.
Being smart is one thing — this is why we read articles on platforms like Medium. We crave knowledge. We crave connection. We crave advice that will give us the edge in our lives. And we crave intellectual stimulation in a world gone increasingly dull.
While we continue to feed those cravings, mixing in a virtual coffee, phone call, or physically distant walk with someone twice our age gives us something that other folks our age just can’t offer.
In an effort to seek wisdom from the right people to bring along for the ride of life, here are 5 tips to ensure the connection with the person twice your age is the right one for you.
Only Seek Out Someone You Would Trade Places With
Don’t take advice from someone you wouldn’t trade places with.
This is a critical decision. For example, a few years back someone tried to give me lifestyle advice who was obese, had type II diabetes, and went through a divorce. Love the guy, but would I take that lifestyle advice from him? Probably not.
Find someone you aspire to be when you are their age and seek them out instead.
Pick Up The Phone
If you are going to truly connect with someone twice your age, it’s advisable to pick up the phone and give them a call. This is a basic Stephen Covey thing — seek first to understand.
Understand that someone twice your age will likely appreciate hearing the sound of your voice rather than a text or email. Especially if you already have some sort of affiliation or brief relationship with them.
Be Authentic & Genuine
Similar to the above, be your true, authentic self. Be genuine. A seasoned veteran of life will sense inauthenticity right away which won’t be good for either of you. Spending time with someone twice your age to advance your career shouldn’t be the goal. Getting to know them and building the relationship which will yield advice for years (and potentially decades) should be the goal.
Keep Them Updated
Once you’ve invited a veteran of life into your life, keep them updated from time to time. Remember, you may be in a busy season of life, but that person you are seeking advice from may be taking life a bit more slowly. They will enjoy hearing from you from time to time and seeing what you are up to. They are in your life for a reason so give them at least one life update per season.
Send A Card
Nothing beats getting good mail — even in the 2020s. Good mail is mail that is anything other than a bill, political memo, or someone trying to sell you something. Write out a note in a carefully selected card each year to let them know you are thinking of them.
As Benjamin Franklin once said, “An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.” Wisdom is like a dividend that comes with that interest deposit and it’s on each of us to pack a stacked portfolio for success in life.
We are the product of the five people we surround ourselves with. Make space in that five for the ole timer out there who has so much to offer you as you continue to navigate your career, your job, and your relationships.