Change is Born from your Example, not your Opinion

Change is Born from your Example, not your Opinion

Last update: 27 May, 2018

The principle of education is to lead by example. In fact, we are all someone’s model of reference – a source of influence. In this sense, opinions that are not followed by examples aren’t very effective. Even bad examples are more useful than good opinions – they are a reference that teaches us what not to do.

From childhood to old age, we learn through examples and direct experience. This type of learning occurs though observing the behavior of another, and it needs a series of factors so that it occurs correctly. Specifically, the person who sets an example must seem interesting to the observer. In addition, for vicarious learning it is preferable that the behavior be instrumental and repeated after seeing the example.

Learning by example pays off, often more quickly and efficiently than other types of teaching. Of course, there are certain behaviors, especially risk behaviors, that can not be learned through examples alone. 

There is nothing sadder than good advice accompanied by a bad example. 

Examples – the only education

How many people can a good example attract? How many can you captivate with your opinion? Apart from oratory skills and a good defense of our opinions, examples are much more educational because they reinforce opinions for the learner. They can more directly appreciate the most probable consequences of a certain behavior.

holding hands

Education is not produced through lecture alone. There must be some practical part to the lesson- this is the ultimate goal of learning. If we want to educate our children, nephews, or students, we must bear in mind that our actions will leave a stronger mark on them than our words.

It is inappropriate to give a series of orders and then not show the same behaviors you ask of others, either in a social, personal, or family level. This type of person is not an effective role models, because of the dissonance that exists between their words and their deeds. They send contradictory messages to the person observing them.

“There is something human, more enduring than the superstitious phantasmagoria of the divine: the example of higher virtues.”

-Jose Ingenieros

Words shake you, an example pulls you

The example is the only lesson everyone can read. Words, on the contrary, are loaded with connotations and hidden meanings. We can’t deny that words can sometimes be healing, and can produce a change of perspective. However, words do not typically have a long lasting effect when it comes to changing a situation.

If we want to change our attitude, our schedules, or our habits, it will not be enough to say we will over and over again. Facts will be what makes a difference. It is true that words put us on notice and make us think about which examples are appropriate, but only once the behavior has been carried out can the learning be considered, or the change completed.

child helping another

Words have the power of conviction when heard, but examples have the power of truth seen and lived. Words are even more powerful when they are backed by a personal example, but words without actions are like a piece of metal – it resonates but doesn’t carry any validity.

People who only use words can convince others, but for a limited time. Unless, of course, they back up their words with examples and the experience of consequences. Words really have their strength through the example of the speaker. If there is no example, what he says becomes abstract.

“I did not persuade people with words, because words do not persuade. I persuaded people with facts and examples.”

Juan Domingo Peron

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.