The Dictionary describes Experience as a particular instance of personally encountering or undergoing something. This is quite very simple and explains itself. But I’ll for the greater purpose of clarity, plainly describe experience as what we go through daily or maybe sometimes in some specific areas of our lives.
Most of us if not all of us, would have heard the very popular and often quoted saying that, experience is the best teacher. But frankly speaking, does this hold true? Daily, in our everyday lives, we see people who more than once, make same mistakes in same area of their lives and this has often left me wondering about so many things as regard that popular cliché.
Personally, I have gone through stuffs that experience didn’t prove to teach me about the way I would have thought it will. I reckoned then that I should be better the next time in making my decision since I had been through similar case. It turned out not to be true. In fact, although surprising to me then, I made more mistakes the second time! Until I learnt the hard way that, it is not what happens to us that makes us better learners, but rather a correct evaluation of it that prevents us from making similar error the next time. Simply put, what you go through is not enough to make you a master of that subject otherwise there would have been no fools in our World. And we could all just be better by hearing from other peoples’ stories. After all, experience is experience since we could almost relate with the events people had been through when they narrate their stories.
But unfortunately, this is not the case. Unless we deliberately analyse and therefore evaluate either our own personal experiences or other people’s own, we can’t learn anything from it. One example is what happens in families where a son watched and experienced daily, how his father beat and maltreated his mom. And quite expectedly, such a son might grow up hating his dad for the pains he saw his mom go through and would always stand up for the mom once he’s all grown and can stand his dad. One would expect a man like that to be the best lover for any woman but alas, it’s never so. The probability of that man doing same and even worst to his woman is more than not at all.
Unless the son in this case, takes out the time to correctly evaluate the situation and really ask himself exactly what the experience may have taught him, unless he tries to really see what those moments caused in their family, and what he could do to prevent such re-occurrence from happening in his home, he might end up worst than his dad had been.
For us as a country, it is quite conspicuous even to the layman, how often we have made a mess in certain issues despite the re-occurrence of those similar circumstances. Yet with all the high frequency of the re-occurrence, our leaders, time after time, have made very bad choices and it is the results that we are left to live with today. Now, imagine what would have happened, if these leaders at their different positions had just taken out of their time to go through the history of these issues and rightly evaluated them? We’d not be where we are today; Of that I’m sure. The same thing applies to our personal lives in all areas.
What I’m saying is the truth that, to gain from experience, you must question the experience itself. You must as a matter of fact, have answers to the questions the experience led you into. Only then can you make decisions that would make the experience your best teacher. So, really it isn’t the experience itself that had taught you what you have come to know by it but what you learnt after you had known it all through the right assessment of the situation.
To make experience a teacher in our lives we should always carry out a diagnostic study of the situation with the benefit of hindsight we had gained by it and use the results based on our insight for accurate lessons learnt that would be beneficial to our foresight; thus preventing us from making similar mistakes in the nearest future especially equipping us with better decision making skills.
I’d rather conclude that contrary to popular opinion, experience is NOT the best teacher but assessing an experience in a diagnostic approach is. Cheers