The Value of Experience

A common saying in Africa is: “Experience is the best teacher”. It is a wise saying because experience involves the person, living through that particular situation or incident, struggling with it and finding a way out or through it. The good thing about experience is that whatever is learned is hardly ever forgotten, even many years later. The only time I wouldn’t say experience is the best teacher is when it involves harmful substances or danger in general. Then, I would say the experiences of others are better teachers.

This begs the question, “How much experience have you had?”. In any field of expertise you may be, experience is very necessary. For me, being in medicine, experience would mean volunteering at health fairs, working with immunization groups or anything health related. Have you asked yourself how you can gain experience in your niche. A common joke in Nigeria is that when you go to look for a job, the requirement is usually that you be no more than 25 years of age with at least 10 years of experience. Makes you wonder how that is physically possible. It’s no wonder American kids are always volunteering for one thing or the other and now I understand why.

Needless to say at this point, experience is extremely valuable in this era. Whether you be entrepreneur or employee, experience is what will make you stand out both on paper and in person. In life, most advice you get from others is based on their personal experiences or the experiences of someone they know about. If you’ve passed the age of fifteen you probably know by now that most information being taught in school is completely useless and impractical in the real world. The closest you can get is using probability to calculate your chances in situations. Even pi which sounds like food is just a pretty cool number at the end of the day.

Yes, Knowledge is power, but guess what applied knowledge is Wisdom. That’s why everyone runs to the older looking doctor when they have difficult questions or procedures in the hospital. The subconscious assumes he has had more experience in the field . I wish I was only talking about experience in career paths. Having experience in life is equally necessary. Don’t be that person that just stays in one field, never tries anything new or explores different possibilities. There are different kinds of experience:

  • Work experience which is gained while working in a specific field or occupation but widely used to mean a type of volunteer work.
  • Personal experience which is a moment to moment experience and sensory awareness of internal and external events or a sum of experiences forming an empirical unity such as a period of life ( I don’t know what that jargon means but you get the drift)
  • Learning experience that is the experience gained rather passively via experiments and things done.

All these kinds of experience are equally important in becoming a well-balanced individual. Experience will reflect in the way you speak, act or carry out any action. While gaining experience, you are put you in real life situations which test your knowledge not on paper but under different circumstances that could break you. It teaches you quick reflexes, decision-making capabilities and reasoning that can never be simulated in a classroom. So laugh out loud and talk to someone new. One experience with someone can make another’s life better. Many things are not learned in a classroom, others never found in a book.

There’s not one way of gaining experience, whichever type it may be but the lesson to be taken is that Life itself is a school, learn from it. Try as many things as you can. In your field of life, try to learn as much as you can especially outside the classroom, some you may have to pay for. This especially to students in college. At the end of the day no-one can take what you know away from you and your experience, priceless as it is,  is always yours to keep.

22 COMMENTS

  1. Experience is definitely the most earnest and memorable learning tool. Unfortunately a lot of my experiences have been harmful and dangerous, so I am trying to use them to help others avoid learning through experience. Hence, my blog!

  2. Thank you for sharing! Experience is definitely important. Love the fact you stated knowledge is power but when mixed with experience it creates wisdom. Love it!

  3. I love that saying because it’s so true to the core. We can study and gain knowledge all we want but it’s experience that helps us become better individuals.

  4. Life is a continuous learning process. We never stop learning, either from books, instructors or experience itself. I think a good way to share knowledge is to share experiences, so that others may learn from it too without necessarily going through the same scenario themselves.

  5. I beleive that sometimes the experiences you have that aren’t even related to something are the ones that end up helpinng you through the most.

  6. Life really is knowledge. It is so important for all of us to learn from every experience and to teach others when they ask about certain experiences in our life. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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