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How Important is Experience?


There is a price to be paid for it, especially if we’re paying attention and have the intention of self-betterment.

Along with the price, is the prize.

I’ve heard it said that the only people to whom experience matters are those who have experience. I wonder if this is true …

My journey from a fairly humble and often self-imposed tumultuous beginning to my life was a great platform from which to appreciate experience, although it took me a bit to realize that.

It’s why I wrote my book.

I knew, and was taught in 12 Step circles, that my experience could be used to benefit others.

How does that happen, we might ask?

Well, I can approach life, go through life, and learn from life in many different ways. I can mindlessly flail (been there and done it), I can read books, I can get educated, I can observe, I can emulate, I can “act as if”, etc.

Can I learn from books? Yes. Can I learn from listening? Yes. Can I learn from the seeds planted by those with experience? Yes.

One of the things I learned through experience is that my story is not going to be another’s story. My story is not going to have the lessons of another’s story. My experience is not going to be another’s experience.

Given that, what is there to share? Things I’ve read but haven’t experienced? Things I don’t yet understand through experience?

A great mentor of mine once said to me, “Don’t talk about things you don’t understand.”

(I must have been talking about a lot of things he knew I didn’t yet understand)

What is it that would make me think that my interpretation of life is what other people should believe?

Through experience we find that this is not the case. All we can do is plant seeds. All we can do is tell stories of our experiences and what we learned.

What ever happened to sitting around the campfire and sharing stories and experiences?

Passing on wisdom gleaned from experience helps others recognize, relate, and possibly learn something when they are faced with similar situations.

Here’s a couple of excerpts from my recently published book, When I Stop Fighting: The Unexpected Joy of Getting My Head Out of My Ass, on experience:

“Experience has taught me, the key to an effective and happy life is to put myself in a position where I can be of service to others, not a burden to others. It’s understanding that life is difficult and that it will include anxiety, fears, and grueling times. These demanding and trying times are all a part of the process of maturing, growing, and improving. How we face those times and move through those challenges is how our belief systems and, hence, our future is ultimately shaped. Do we want to hide from difficulties, or do we want to face them and move through them, garnering the strength and sturdiness we’ll need to confidently face whatever is next?”

And …

“It takes time and patience as well as unrelenting exploration to acquire wisdom, peace, and contentment. Life demands experience to acquire the durability that will get us through difficult times …”

As we move forward in this lifetime, we are always gaining experience and experiences. Let’s ensure we get the most out of all of them … and don’t forget to pass on the wisdom to others. They will use it when they are ready.

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