Experience is a great teacher, but our own experiences aren’t the best teacher. Other people’s experience is your best teacher. Stay on the path and learn from others. Don’t worry, you’ll still make plenty of mistakes along the way. I can promise you that. Why make the same mistakes as others have if you can avoid them? Why not learn from those who have gone before you and found success?

What journey are you on? Are you an athlete aspiring to be a champion? Are you an entrepreneur building a successful business? Or are you on the journey of life following your calling?

Here’s the beauty in it all: Others have gone before you and already paved the way. You just need to follow the path.

It is important that we’re willing to learn from others, to sit at their feet and find out what they know. This is our short cut! Many times we don’t have to reinvent the wheel or make the mistakes others have made.

We can take our goal and find a few others who have hit a similar one, and we can study what they did. We can learn what worked and what didn’t work for them. They become our mentors of sorts through books, podcasts, association, maybe even a personal relationship. If the path is already blazed, why wouldn’t we at least start there?

Experience isn’t the best teacher. Other people’s experience is your best teacher. Stay on the path and learn from others.

There’s definitely power in blazing your own trail, and there’s merit in doing your own thing at times, but the concept of staying on the path is learning from the experience of others. If their goal started out similar to mine, then that’s the path I need to take. It’s when my goal becomes individual to myself that I would veer off to blaze my own trail.

My path won’t look the same the whole way as it does for others, but I can use the given path all the way to the point where I can see my goal and blaze my own trail from there.

I have plans to do a post in the future about blazing your own trail because it is important to be willing to venture off into the unknown, but the path less traveled — where you will venture to hit your goal — is still the unknown because you’ve never been on it before.

Related: Fear of the Unknown

Why stay on the path?

The path is the shortcut. Learning from others saves you time, money, and pain. If you try to shortcut the shortcut, it can be many times more dangerous. There may be loose rocks, wild animals, or a dead end. There’s a reason the path wasn’t built in that direction in the first place.

Don’t become impatient with the journey and try to veer off the given course. Impatience will take you out. Stick to it. The shortcut may look shorter and more appealing, but in the end, it will end up taking much longer.

If you stray or let what “looks appealing” take you off course, it will take you longer to get there, and you’ll most likely endure more trials and bumps along the way. You may not even get there at all because frustration and doubt will infiltrate your mind. We need to keep blinders on and focus on the path in front of us to get to the summit, our end goal. Don’t let distractions take you out. Enjoy the views, enjoy the journey, but stay on the path.

Related: Power of Focus

Stay on the Tracks, Tootle!

My oldest son’s favorite book when he was younger was a Golden Classic called, Tootle. We read it over and over again to him, multiple times a day. We even had to hide it at times so we could read other books to him!

Tootle is a baby locomotive who hopes to grow up to be the Flyer on the New York-Chicago route. All he had to do was stop at red flags waving, pull a dining car without spilling soup, and get 100 percent A plus on staying on the rails, no matter what. However, Tootle thought it was much more fun to venture off the tracks and chase butterflies in the meadow, and he did this frequently.

What he didn’t realize is that Bill, his school teacher, had Tootle’s best interest in mind. If Tootle wanted to be the fastest train and be a Flyer on the New-York Chicago route, he needed to stay focused and stay on the path paved for him — no matter what. Tootle learned a hard lesson about why it was important to listen to his coach and not stray from the tracks.

As long as you can see the path in front of you, don’t quit.

If you see a path in front of you, you can be reassured that you can reach your destination because someone else has already paved the way. God is no respecter of persons. If someone else can do it, you can do it too. You just need to believe that you can.

The path of the warrior is lifelong, and mastery is often simply staying on the path. — Richard Strozzi-Heckler, American Coach and Author

FINAL STRETCH

Don’t reinvent the wheel if you don’t have to. Learn from others and stay your path. How you get there may look different and unique to you based on your goals and the obstacles along the way, but you can get there faster if you stay the course on the trail already blazed for you. Let other people’s experience be your best teacher.

Related: Joy in the Journey

And, remember, you are a winner. Just run your race!

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