從別人的錯誤學習1

By Robert J. Tamasy

「你為什麼想要有人擔任你的生命導師?」這是我在餐廳裡向一位坐在桌子對面的年輕人所提出的問題。一位我們共同的朋友建議陶德來見我,因為他希望有人成為他專業上和個人生活中的導師。

他的答案讓我驚訝:「我想要從你的錯誤中學習。」我笑了,心想這個人還不到三十歲就有此智慧,認知到不必只從自己的錯誤和不好的決定中學習。你可以從那些已走過你想走道路的人身上學習,而且你可以從他們透過嘗試和錯誤中學到的事受益。

但結果我並沒有成為他的導師,因為他已經遇過許多其他有輔導能力的導師。許多年輕人甚至連一個導師都沒遇到過,所以我認為陶德已經有足夠的幫助。但他的意見讓我想到有許多次我也做了同樣的事--不但從別人的成功,也從他們的錯誤中學習。

若不是別人讓我知道怎麼做,我不會有今天的熱情去幫助別人學習如何有效地把信仰融入職場。而且他們誠實地告訴我他們失敗的時候、有時他們屈服於試探,走捷徑去達成目標,雖然他們知道那違反了他們的正直原則。

然而,就是透過那些失敗,他們學會在作決定之前,先設定界限、確定自己致力於卓越和誠實的重要性。他們教導我,當他們遠在危機之前就作好這些事,困難的決定就變得容易。

那些導師也教導我有關他們在婚姻、教養兒女、理財、處理憤怒和其他負面情緒、以及性的試探這些領域上的試煉、失敗和成功。我也很榮幸能從別人的錯誤學習。

聖經提供許多人的品格功課,他們雖然努力去跟隨並服事上帝,但有時還是會跌倒。我發現那些故事非常有鼓勵性,不僅從他們的失敗學習,也了解上帝並不要求完美,祂只要我們渴望跟隨祂,且願意在失敗的時候悔改。哥林多前書10章只用兩節經文就提供了很棒的真知灼見:

認識別人的失敗並謹記在心。有一句話說,若我們無法從歷史中學習,我們注定會重蹈覆轍。當我們重覆同事和朋友的錯誤行為,他們對我們就只有不好的影響。「他們遭遇這些事都要作為鑑戒,並且寫在經上,正是警戒我們這末世的人」(哥林多前書10章11節)。

不要高估你自己的力量。從別人的錯誤中學習的益處之一是了解到我們也可能犯同樣的錯誤。若我們是有智慧的人,我們會採取預防的步驟去避免重覆別人的失敗。如另一句諺語告訴我們,預防勝於治療。「所以,自己以為站得穩的,須要謹慎,免得跌倒」(哥林多前書10章12節)。

勞勃.泰默西是領袖資產協會的傳播部副部長,這是一個總部在美國喬治亞州亞特蘭大的非營利組織。他也是一個有40年經驗的退休新聞工作者。他寫過一本書「最佳狀態的商業:箴言給今日職場的歷久彌新智慧」(Business At Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today’s Workplace)。他也與David A. Stoddard合著一本書「導師之心」(The Heart of Mentoring)。要了解更多資訊, 可上網www.leaderslegacy.com 或上他的部落格www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com以及www.bobtamasy.wordpress.com 。

省思 / 討論題目

  1. 你是否曾把握機會,從別人的錯誤中學習?若有,請舉一個例子,以及你學到什麼。
  2. 是否有人曾從你的錯誤中學習?請解釋。
  3. 你是否曾經應該從聽到或觀察到別人的錯誤中學習,但卻重覆了別人的錯誤?後果如何?
  4. 本篇「週一嗎哪」指出聖經中有許多人物犯了嚴重的錯誤,但卻得到寬恕且恢復與上帝的關係。你能想出什麼例子嗎?知道那些人失敗,卻沒有被上帝棄絕,當你考慮自己的行為時,是否能鼓勵你?為什麼?

註:若你有聖經且想要看有關此主題的其他經文,請看:詩篇119篇9-11節;哥林多前書10章13節;哥林多後書4章7-10節;雅各書1章12-15節;彼得前書2章18-25節


LEARNING FROM THE MISTAKES OF OTHERS

By Robert J. Tamasy

“Why do you want to be mentored?” That was the question I asked the young man sitting across the table from me at a local restaurant. A mutual friend had suggested to Todd that he meet with me since he had expressed an interest in having someone mentor him in both his professional and personal life.

His answer surprised me: “I want to learn from your mistakes.” I smiled, thinking here was a man in his late 20s that already had the wisdom to recognize that you do not have to learn exclusively from your own errors and poor decisions. You can learn from people that have already traveled along the path you are following – and you can benefit from what they have learned through trial and error.

As it turned out, he and I did not begin a one-to-one mentoring relationship because he already was meeting with several other men in various mentor-like capacities. With many younger men lacking even a single man to meet with, I concluded Todd already had enough help. But his comment caused me to reflect on the many times I have done the same thing – learned from the mistakes others have shared with me, along with their successes.

I would not have the passion I have today for helping others learn how to effectively integrate their faith in the workplace if it had not been for others that showed me it could be done. And they honestly told me about times when they had failed, when they had yielded to the temptation to cut corners to achieve goals, even though they knew it would be a breach of their personal integrity.

It was through failures like these, however, that they learned the importance of setting boundaries, of affirming their commitments to excellence and honesty before they came to a moment of decision. Difficult decisions become easier, they taught me, when they are made long in advance of the crisis.

Men like these also taught me about their trials, failures and successes in areas such as marriage, parenting, handling finances, dealing with anger and other troublesome emotions, and sexual temptation. I, too, have been privileged to learn from the mistakes of others.

The Bible offers many character studies of men that strived to follow and served God, yet sometimes stumbled along the way. I have found these stories very encouraging, not only by learning specifics of their failures, but also realizing God does not demand perfection, only a sincere desire to follow Him, along with a willingness to repent in times of failure. The 10th chapter of 1 Corinthians offers great insight with only two verses:

Recognize other people’s failures and take them to heart. There is a saying that if we fail to learn from history, we are doomed to repeat it. Colleagues and friends can only be bad influences when we allow ourselves to repeat their wrong actions. “All these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition” (1 Corinthians 10:11).

Do not overestimate your own strength. One of the benefits of learning from the mistakes of others is realizing we could make the same errors. If we are wise, we will take preventative steps to avoid a repeat of those failures. As another saying tells us, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. “So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you do not fall!” (1 Corinthians 10:12).

Robert J. Tamasy is vice president of communications for Leaders Legacy, Inc., a non-profit organization based in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A. A veteran journalist, he has written Tufting Legacies (iUniverse); Business At Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today’s Workplace (River City Press); and has coauthored with David A. Stoddard, The Heart of Mentoring (NavPress). For more information, see www.leaderslegacy.com or his blogs, www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com and www.bobtamasy.wordpress.com.

Reflection/Discussion Questions

  1. Have you ever taken the opportunity to learn from someone else’s mistakes? If so, give an example of when you did this – and what you learned.
  2. Has anyone ever been given a similar opportunity to learn from your mistakes? Explain your answer.
  3. Can you think about a time when you should have learned from hearing about or observing another person’s mistakes, but instead proceeded to replicate the error? What were the consequences for you?
  4. This “Monday Manna” points out that numerous case studies are presented in the Bible of people who made serious mistakes, yet were forgiven and restored in their relationship with God. Can you think of any specific examples? Knowing that individuals like this failed, yet were not abandoned by God, does this encourage you in considering your own actions? Why or why not?

NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to review additional passages that relate to this topic, consider the following verses: Psalm 119:9-11; 1 Corinthians 10:13; 2 Corinthians 4:7-10; James 1:12-15; 1 Peter 2:18-25

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