Experience Really Is The Best Teacher
I’m not sure who first said, “Experience is the greatest teacher,” but I know it to be one of the truest statements ever made. Someone even took it to a higher level by stating, “Experience is the ONLY teacher.” Problem solving is an integral part of all our careers, and personal lives. Experience often makes us more confident in our decisions because our understanding of the situation is not brand new.
Researchers have found that infants who had an opportunity to use a plastic cane to get an out-of-reach toy were better able to understand the goal of another person’s use of a similar tool than were infants who had previously only watched an adult use a cane to retrieve a toy.
According to assistant professor of psychology and lead author of a study published in a 2008 issue of the journal Developmental Psychology, “Acting on the world is one way infants learn about the world, and only recently have there been studies showing that active, hands-on experience is a more effective way of learning than watching. This study indicates that there is a benefit to actual hands-on experience early in human development.” (Science Daily, October 9, 2008)
Executives who rise to the C-suite exude confidence. CEOs and Chairmen are usually in their positions because of consistency in making good decisions. In interviewing hundreds of them over the years, the one constant among them is that the confidence in their decision-making improved with age and experience.
Experience Produces An Excellent Spirit
One man, in particular, told the story of his growth. He achieved success (financially) early in his career and seemed to have a Midas-touch. Everything he did came easy and in his words he, “didn’t know the difference between confident and cocky.” He had faced no hard decisions or failures according to his account. Then things changed. His industry had a cyclical downturn; something he had not experienced, nor had he planned for. His fortune was lost and he was no longer regarded as he had been previously.
One thing he possessed was a strong faith in God. He was shaken by his losses, but his faith in God and in his skills remained strong. He began again. He took an entry-level position in a company that would use his skills. It was humbling, but it was a successful step. Today, he owns the company.
As we talked, he made it clear that his stability and confidence came from his faith. He had confidence in his skill set as it had clearly worked for him before. He simply needed the opportunity to put those skills to use once more and he did not consider himself above taking a humble position. My friend had an excellent spirit.
The Bible declares that Daniel had an excellent spirit, knowledge, understanding, a keen mind, and the ability to solve difficult problems (Daniel 5:12-13). When called before Belshazzar to interpret a dream (a task none of his contemporaries could accomplish), he acted and spoke with absolute confidence. His confidence was born out of his experience before Nebuchadnezzar and also his continued walk with the Almighty God.
My friend’s experience and Daniel’s experience are similar. When my friend was given opportunity in a new situation, he performed with confidence. Just as Daniel knew God and his employer, so did my friend. And so can you.
Trust God…and Your Experience
Know, today, that those same resources are available to you. Your experience has fit you for the “battle” of today and the same Almighty God can be trusted, not only with your eternal future, but with the hassles of the moment. Daniel trusted God to assist him in solving difficult problems; God will assist you too! You are up to the task in Him! Know it! Understand it! It will create an excellent spirit in you.
“His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (II Peter 1:3-8 NIV)