by Rick Warren — December 2, 2021
From God’s Vision for the Rest of Your Life
“People’s thoughts can be like a deep well, but someone with understanding can find the wisdom there.”
Proverbs 20:5 (NCV)
Proverbs 20:5 says, “People’s thoughts can be like a deep well, but someone with understanding can find the wisdom there” (NCV). In other words, everybody has something to teach you. Just like it’s worth the effort to draw water from a deep well, it’s worth the time and attention to draw wisdom from another person.
How do you draw the wisdom out of every person? You learn to ask smart questions.
As I’ve traveled around the world, I’ve asked questions of taxicab drivers and prime ministers—and they both have had things to teach me. If you know the right questions to ask, you can learn from anybody!
One thing I’ve realized is that I never learn anything while I’m talking. If my mouth is moving, I’m not learning. You don’t learn when you’re talking; you learn when you’re listening. So you’ve got to learn to listen.
The late American TV host Larry King once said this: In an interview show, if the host is talking 50 percent of the time, something is terribly wrong. The host should listen the most and talk the least. A good TV host sets up the question and then just listens.
I’ve done a lot of interviews over the years, and I’ve noticed fewer and fewer hosts following Larry King’s advice. More often, interview shows are about the interviewer, whose goal is to draw attention to themselves, and not about the guests.
In your life, be more like the host who has learned to listen. Be a person who believes you can learn from anyone.
You just have to be willing to ask good questions—and then listen. That’s the mark of a wise person.