Experience is a good school, but the fees are high.
We continue to find value in the above statement, after more than two centuries. Christian Johann Heinrich Heine (13 December 1797–17 February 1856) was a German poet, journalist, essayist, and literary critic per
No wonder, I am an ardent follower of the age-old wisdom, “learn from others’ mistakes because you will not live long enough to commit them all yourself.” Is it not true we learn from our mistakes? Of course, some mistakes cost us very dearly, hence the ‘high fees’ in the above quote. At the same time, it is also true the education we get from this school helps us in various ways through life, and that makes ‘experience’ a good school.
“Do you know the difference between education and experience? Education is when you read the fine print; experience is what you get when you don’t.” –Pete Seeger, late American folk singer and social activist (May 3, 1919 – January 27, 2014.)
The above lines relate directly to yet another valuable lesson from my father (May his soul rest in Peace): “Always read in-between the lines, because what the large letters give, the small letters take away.” Ask any lawyer how your rights can be compromised in signing any document based on blind faith. I can guarantee, you will never sign anything without reading it word-by-word, and seeking counsel where the meaning is not entirely clear at first reading. Such is the power of experience, whether yours or that of someone else, but taken in right earnest.
“Be brave. Take risks. Nothing can substitute experience.” -Paulo Coelho. Exploring new avenues, systems, methodologies, ways, and means requires risk-taking due to the readily available examples, lessons, and/or experiences of others. Given such a situation, these words make a lot of sense as an invocation for us not to be scared. Paulo Coelho de Souza is a Brazilian lyricist and novelist. He is best known for his novel ‘The Alchemist.’
Bravery, as referred to, by the above author, calls for determination, as well as an un-abiding faith in the power of exploring new territories. If not, all the unbelievable acts of heroism, success, and setting excellent examples over generations would have come to naught. The brave never take pride in monotony as their curiosity is always pressing them to go where none has gone before. It is their capacity to take risks and enjoy the challenges that give the rest of us an experience worth imbibing for our own use, as and when needed.
“A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.” –Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr, an American jurist who served as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1902 to 1932, and as Acting Chief Justice of the United States from January–February 1930.
It is true, nobody can gauge the capacity of the human mind to gather information and still keep collecting memories, incidents, events, and experiences. However, it is also true that each one of these developments stretches the mind a bit further. Since we cannot erase every single cause of an effect, naturally, it becomes impossible to see our mind get back to its old dimensions. Given a specific situation, for better or worse, we are always reminded of things stored within even after a long lapse of time.
As a matter of fact, once we get into the habit of letting our imagination run wild, the fantastic swath of opportunities comes knocking at our doors. The more we explore, the higher we see our experiences give us further impetus. This is where we develop an uncanny ability to take calculated risks. Armed with relevant experiences, we graduate to the level of far superior ‘Risk Managers’ and leave the ‘risk-taker’ attitude behind. The combined power of cumulative exposures, both our own and those of others we emulate, help us make quantum gains in life.
“Education is a lifelong experience. Experience is a lifelong education. Education plus experience equals expertise.” – Michael Bugeja. He is an ethicist and author of 23 books, including Interpersonal Divide in the Age of the Machine, Interpersonal Divide: The Search for Community in a Technological Age, and Living Ethics across Media Platforms, all published by Oxford University Press.
Considering the above words of wisdom in their proper perspective, we can quickly identify the value of ‘experience’ in our lives. Especially unique is the connection the author has conceptually established between education and experience. It is an inter-balance of the two virtues that help propel us towards lofty goals with comparative ease. The absence of either one of these essential components can, and sure does pose many challenges for those unprepared ‘to go beyond the beaten track.’
“Art is not a handicraft, it is the transmission of feeling the artist has experienced.” –Leo Nikolayevich Tolstoy. Count Lyov Nikolayevich Tolstoy, usually referred to in English as Leo Tolstoy, was a Russian writer who is regarded as one of the greatest authors of all time.
Here is an unimaginably powerful narration of experience giving birth to art. I am absolutely sure almost every one of my readers here would have experienced these notes in his or her life at some time, if not as adults then as children in the grade school, working on an art project.
It is the emotions we experience on a daily basis that help us gain knowledge, no matter how insignificant. The continued addition of layers upon layers takes the shape of experiences, both negative and positive. When called upon to express ourselves in any specific form or manner, our first inspiration comes from the treasured experiences, more often than not.
On a final note, the value of experiences in our life is second to none, whether we accept it or reject it outright. There comes a stage in life where our riches become secondary to precious experience, whether it is our own or that of someone else, e.g., a medical specialist, for life-saving surgery. Definitely, we do not want an inexperienced surgeon performing an open-heart procedure on a loved one.