The great Roman conqueror, Julius Caesar in one of Shakespeare’s greatest plays recorded a powerful statement: Experience is the most efficient teacher of all things. He won his wars not by sitting in his throne and planning on maps, but by soldiering with the rank and file of the Roman legions. He fought in the front lines, along with his legionnaires. He marched with them, slept with them, ate with them and bled with them. He was the greatest Roman military leader because he believed that experiences trump instruction.
Julius Caesar said it, loud and clear, a man learns only from his own mistakes, when he encounters reality on his own. No book can predict an actual occurrence, a wise man learns from his mistakes, and makes new mistake, never the same again.
Experiencing is much more than creating something new. It is more about exploring your own strengths and weaknesses. What you want, what you don’t want, what can you do, what can you not do? Every time you fail, you learn a new thing about yourself, you figure out a new weakness, a new area to work upon. The more you know about yourself, and the more you respond to this knowledge, the better your results will be. One of the most important things you can do is track your result. Experience is also about discovering who sands by you in tough times, and who leaves according to their convenience. You need to have enthusiastic teammates who are willing to support you with your endeavors, have an healthy communication with you, and who contribute to the innovation of your business as a whole. When they make a mistake, you learn too. Experience is about you being able to understand your clients’ needs. While it is important for you to be clear with what you have to offer to them, what is more important is to understand what is it that they want from you. You never stop learning, and you never stop experiencing new things. Having the ability to judge your future actions by what you’ve actually been through is what gives you an edge.
2.5 lakhs of students give CAT (MBA entrance exam in India) every year. Even with a really high percentile of 99.5, students don’t get a call from the top IIMs in the country, and some students get the call with just 99 percentile. Why is this? IIMs prefer to enroll students who have already been a part of the corporate sector for some time, and thus gives them an upper hand to brush up their managerial skills. And the best part about CAT is there is no age limit. What I want to convey through this example is that no one really sees your score-card; they will always choose you over others if you have the practical knowledge. It’s what you do with what happens to you.
“A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back its older dimensions.”