Experience says Oscar Wild , is the name given to our mistakes .We all, however, agree that experience is a great teacher. It teaches us in a slow but surest way through our own experience .There are things in life for which there are no short cuts and one has to learn them through his or her own practical experience involving in the pains and pleasures of the learning journey. One can not learn cycling, swimming ,boxing, fighting, kite flying, management practices and ample other things in life simply by reading books or through a correspondence course. As Iris Murdock has said,” we can only learn to love by loving”
Nehru ji in his famous letters written to daughter Indira has categorized three types of people. Wise people who learn from the mistakes or experiences of others. Average people who learn from their own mistakes and fools who learn from none and go on repeating same mistakes time and again in similar situations.
There are, however, things as mentioned earlier which even the wise people have to learn through their experience. One can be aware of them but in order to practice them one has to acquire practical experience himself or herself . One can not be a pilot, bungee jumper, and mountaineer without the requisite practical experience. One has to learn through cautious, devoted and persistent practical learning to gain expertise.There are thus two types of learnings one which are taught in school and the other which experience teaches . One may or may not have choice of options for resorting to one of methodologies depending upon what one is trying to learn.
Tom Bodett has very aptly differentiated the learnings from school and life. According to him :
“The difference between learnings from school and life is that in school you are first taught the lessons and then given a test. In life you are given a test first that teaches you a lesson”
The essence is that learn whatever is possible to learn from the experience of others and leave only the bare essentials for your own experience e.g never drive car on the highway after reading the book “ How to become an expert driver –Ten easy lessons”
Gauging experience merely through age factor is also a fallacy. Even two years’ experience of a doctor employed in a big hospital in a metro is meaningful in terms of quality and utility than the experience acquired by an equally qualified doctor practicing in a town for several years. So comparing experience of two persons in similar field is also a job of an experienced person.
Barry Partner says “ Good judgement comes from experience and experience comes from bad judgement”