The saying goes that every person you meet can be a teacher for you. That is true to some extent: Everyone comes with their own story, their own background, their own approach to life. Sometimes, we learn a lot from people who live the seemingly complete opposite of our own lives. Sometimes, we learn from people who have hurt us. Yes, everything can indeed be a lesson – for a mind that is open and a heart that is ready to take it in.

No one of us will ever be done learning all the lessons life has to offer. Even the greatest teachers are still students at heart. In fact, you may recognize a great teacher by the humble attitude that usually comes with being a student. A good teacher is aware that there is a limit to their knowledge. A good teacher is aware that their methods might not work for everyone. A good teacher knows that even the knowledge of the greatest minds can be fallible. History is showing us countless examples for that.

And in this sense, life is not meant for any of us to stay in the role of the student exclusively, either. Having a few teachers is good – having too many teachers, on the other hand, may confuse you more than anything else.

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.
(Attributed to Plato)

Life can get complicated, and at times it may seem as though we have to turn towards experts for each new endeavor we embark on. But if we get too comfortable in the role of the perpetual student, we may risk giving up our own authority to others. That can even be dangerous. Our choices are still our responsibilities, and nobody else’s.

As we continue to grow and learn, we also continue to become a teacher ourselves. You may just be at the beginning of a new journey, but you’re probably already way ahead of others who haven’t even realized that there might be an alternative to the way they live their lives.

Appreciate your own knowledge and what you can offer for others you meet on your way. Have your encounters become a sharing of knowledge and expertise – look for the unique gifts another person might have for you. How can you apply it to your own life?

And then, what is it that you have to share with the other person? Chances are, they too are dealing with their very own conundrum, not knowing their way around it. They might not mention it, but rest assured it’s there, somewhere. Be of mutual service.