Wisdom From The Elderly

I was once told that when someone is giving me new information, I sit there, expressionless, gobbling up the information without conveying any emotion. I had no idea I did this! (I assumed that I show reaction) yet apparently, sometimes when I am listening to new information so intently, processing every piece and thinking what will I do with this data, once I do next step 1, what is the next event that will occur, will I be prepared for that, (if not) how can I prepare for that, what is the ultimate result of this initiative…and so on, apparently a blank stare is how I demonstrate that I am thinking 16 steps ahead.

So I got to thinking…what is it that the teacher has that I do not?


And then I thought…how does one get experience?


So the moral of the story is smile and nod when you are learning something new. Just kidding. The moral of the story is, as you keep learning new things, ask questions and/or confirm you understand.


But what if you want to be wise beyond your years? You have to tap into special resources. Books, yes. But also people. Likely older people. Because, mathematically, they have more time on this earth than you do and thus they have had more experiences. So here are a few of my favorite wisdom from the elderly.




I know someone who has been playing bridge every week for the past three decades because “it keeps me sharp”. Find a hobby that keeps your mind sharp.



Have you ever noticed older generations at the airport? Many of the gentlemen still wear a suit and tie. Travel elegantly.



When I relocated to Sarasota from Chicago I did not yet have my next career endeavor determined. One of my neighbors is a former Navy Pilot, a senior who works out in our building fitness room every day around 2pm. He is in great shape given his years. For the first few days when I saw him, he would ask me, “So, did you find a job yet?” “Not, yet!”, I’d smile, as I headed out to a networking event. A week or so later he asked me again and my response was “Yes! I start in two weeks!” “Good”. He said. “Get to work!”

Now. When a grown 80-something ex-Navy pilot tells you to “Get To Work”, it somehow carries this extra motivation and inspiration that I will never be able to forget. “Work” to this man once meant defending our country by air and sea. I practically saluted him as I smiled in agreement, and before heading into the elevator. Treat your work with motivation and inspiration.
What have you learned from your elders? Share @MsCareerGirl

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Kelly Christiansen

A top columnist at MsCareerGirl, marketing guru Kelly Christiansen has 10+ years of strategic leadership experience and is a Senior Marketing Strategist on the Health Care team at Kahler Slater, an architecture firm in Wisconsin. An avid reader, runner, and recipe experimenter, you can follow Kelly on twitter @kellymc247

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