Bad Influences

I've realized something. The people who influence my life the most are many times the ones who've made bad decisions. This seems contradictory to who I am but really the fact that I can look at them and know exactly how not to live my life speaks more than any person just telling me what not to do. They say sometimes you've gotta learn the hard way, but wouldn't it be less painful if we learned from others mistakes instead of making our own?