Our ability to live a life of happiness and prosperity often hinges upon how well we employ the advice that is offered to us by friends and loved ones. In particular, our elders can offer members of younger generations a valuable prescription for life that is based upon their past experiences and lessons learned. Below is a look at the many benefits of seeking advice from older adults and the top seven questions for younger people to ask their elders.
What can younger people learn by talking to their elders?
With decades of experience solving life’s daily challenges, our elders can offer a wealth of information to people in younger generations. From financial advice to lessons in love, our elders can provide valuable guidance that will help future generations succeed in the following areas:
- Sustaining successful relationships with spouses, family members, and friends
- Developing productive habits to succeed at work and at home
- Surviving financial crises and economic downturns
- How to achieve work-life balance to enjoy a fulfilled life
- Developing dietary habits and health practices that will prolong your life
- Overcoming personal challenges and hurdles in life
How does asking about life stories differ from asking for advice?
While stories and advice might both be linked to the same life lesson, they are entirely different from each other. Sometimes stories and advice are presented together, making it difficult to distinguish between the two. Here are some key differences between story-telling and advice-giving:
- Stories focus on the past whereas advice is geared toward the future
- A story is a personal account of a historical event whereas advice is personal guidance that is based on experience
- Advice provides actionable steps for a person to follow in the future while a story typically lacks any concrete takeaways
- Stories have a beginning and an end, whereas advice is fluid and customisable
How can a younger person get the conversation started?
Holiday gatherings and family meals provide excellent opportunities for people of all ages to comingle and engage in conversation. They usually occur in a comfortable, relaxed setting that is conducive to multi-generational discussions. There is plenty of time to ask questions and dive into shared responses. Below are seven questions that younger people can ask their elders to initiate a productive dialogue on life’s lessons learned:
1) What would you say are the keys to living a happy and fulfilled life and how have your keys to happiness changed since you were in your twenties?
2) As you think about the life you have lived, what would you say are your top turning points, or critical events that caused you to change the course of your life?
3) What are three things that younger people can do now to prevent feelings of regret from surfacing in their later years?
4) Many people say that they their most stressful or challenging life experiences were instrumental in helping them learn valuable life lessons. Do you think this is the case? If so, could you give a few examples of lessons that you learned as the result of a challenging life event?
5) What are the top principles or values that guide you in your everyday life?
6) What would you identify as the most critical lessons that you have learned throughout the course of your life?
7) What advice do you have for young people who are looking for the secret to a happy marriage?
By asking our elders the thought-provoking questions above, people of all ages can gain valuable insight into the experiences that will ultimately shape their own lives. Most important, younger people can receive guidance that will help them maximise their happiness and prosperity.