The Power of Experience

How do one begin to define the word ‘experience’?I spent the whole day mulling about this, thanks to a lecturer of mine who set us tasks to do even BEFORE we had our first meeting! Certainly, this lecturer is not to be messed with and always one to make a good first impression, I set about interpreting my own meaning of the word ‘experience’ and also with the help of the Web’s most reliable source of information: Wikipedia.

From the way I see it, ‘experience’ is concept that we cannot live without nor can we avoid it. Everything we do, is a result of some form of experience, right? I don’t know who said it before but I remembered someone quoted as saying that “Experience is the greatest teacher”. And I wholly agree with that notion.

Based on Wikipedia, the concept of Experience is made up of having knowledge of or skill in or observation of some thing or some event gained through involvement or exposure to that thing or event. In layman terms, experience is simply knowledge/skill/understanding that was gained by a person through participation of an event or a thing. Experience = knowledge.

Once I understood this, I came to two conclusions:

1) Metaphorically speaking, experience is like many pieces of Lego that when added or joined together, it becomes a complete picture or thing. We build knowledge through our experiences in dealing with people, with life and with issues. There is no absolute knowledge – each experience shapes a different knowledge, either improving on a previous knowledge or substituting an old knowledge or gaining new knowledge. Am I making sense here? All these thoughts are really giving me a bad, bad migraine!

2) Experience guides us. There is no doubt about it. We learn from experience everyday. The process of acquiring experience is a non-stop, ever-going and lifelong process. The more we repeat an action, the more we become experienced in that action that we become an expert in that action. However, this is different from reptitions. We don’t gain any new knowledge by merely repeating something we’ve already experienced. An ‘experience’ is called ‘experience’ when we gained new knowledge.

For example, today, I tried another attempt at side-parking, which I really hated because I am not good at it. However, by watching how mom does it, I gained a bit of experience from seeing how my mom did it and when I actually tried side-parking, it was not perfect, but I did managed it without scratching the car. What I had is another experience in side-parking. But does that make me an expert of side-parking? No! Once I relive the experience and continue to perform side-parking til I am confident in side-parking do I finally become an expert in side-parking. Similarly, having dabbled in Microsoft Word for years now, I cannot fully say that I am an expert in it, although I am an experienced user because sometimes I discover that I can do something new with Microsoft Word. That becomes another new experience in dealing with Microsoft Word.

It is no wonder that children learns best when it comes to learning through experience. Children, with their natural curiosity, are always eager to try, to do, to practice and be directly involved in new things, new experiences. This is the basis for the old proverb “Give a child a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach the child to fish, and you feed him the rest of his day.” Show the child how to fish and he can fish for himself. Show the child how to tie his shoelaces and he can tie them himself. Show the child what happens when you play with fire and they will understand not to play with fire. Children have a great capacity to remember things that they learn and experience because their brains are like sponges, constantly absorbing knowledge and storing them away, ready to be recalled and pieced together to form a completed jigsaw puzzle.

Because of the child’s great capacity to remember things and learn things quickly, I cannot help but stress on the importance of teaching children the RIGHT things and protect them from things that will do them more harm than good. It is usually the result of tragic experiences in a child’s life that resulted in them having to grow up into killers, rapists, abusers and psychos. A child’s mind is a fragile, precious thing. All the more important for us to protect them from the unsrupulous, evil people who seek to twist and pervert the children’s minds by exposing them to the foulest acts imaginable. Don’t you agree that children who grew up watching their fathers beat up mothers would think that it is okay to beat up women? Don’t you think a racist is born when a child sees his father or mother treat a person of another race with contempt and disgust?

So, dear readers, do you now see the power of experience? Experience is the key to controlling a person. It’s the most potent weapon, and in the right hands, experience brings forth fruit, but in the wrong hands – experience brings forth tragedy.

Now, I wonder how my lecturer would react if I spent the whole hour in class repeating what I’ve just typed all of the above? Now, THAT will be an experience she’ll never forget! Unfortunately, I will not be taking her subject as I have decided to take another and leave this subject for next semester. Guess i’ll just save this for next time. ^_^

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