Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Three Questions to Assess a Person’s Experience

Experience is not about doing the same things again and again; it is about always learning the new things through it or the new way to do it.

Regardless whatever we are today, our knowledge and capabilities are on account of our cumulative experience to become part of “who we are.” These experience got created consciously and subconsciously, some are positive, and some are negative; some are direct, some are indirect, some help us grow, and some are undesirable; some are building blocks and some are roadblocks. Which questions should you ask to assess a person's experience?

Is experience opening your mind or closing your mind? People have cognitive differences, even two people experience exactly the same thing, they might have totally different feedback, and tell the completely different story. Direct experience is that you have done something or visit somewhere directly, and indirect experience means perhaps you never go somewhere or experience something, but you learn that place or learn something from others, or books,media etc, but when you get the chance to really go that place, you have probably different feeling or experience than before. Or even the same person visits the place only a few days, or lives there for a couple years, he or she would gain different experience about the same scene. That said, what you learn from your experience depends on how open your mind is. How easy it would be put aside your experience to learn new knowledge. With a static mind, often experience brings a teaching mindset, not a learning mindset. Experience will close our minds, for learning new only because we feel we knew already, sufficiently. We feel we know because, we have visibly used that knowledge on some part of our work/life situations, practically, this exposure makes us a complacent or content. Leaving the familiar "comfort zone" to enter into the unknown zone would require a real time passion and motivation for growth. Learning means curiosity, discovery, experimentation, exploration and creation. It requires a growth mind which is open to all possibilities. Due to increasing speed of changes and abundance of information, if you have a static mind, experience has most of the time lead towards Complacency, Resistance, Fear, Doubts, Anxiety. One misses many opportunities just trying to protect their knowledge through endorsements, rather than getting challenged and exploring new ways to gain new experience.

Is your experience a building block for shaping new capabilities or a roadblock to stop you from growth? Experience, whether a roadblock or building block, depends on the nature of the experience and the mindset of the individual. Those who don't set their mind to continuously learn every day, their experience will be a roadblock. As who understands that learning is a lifetime experience, and then their experience will be a building block. So, whenever and whatever, we experience, it remains with us, we can only unfold it through our growing understanding, insight, and wisdom, and that’s a new learning which is added up to mold the past experience into the new building block for gaining the new experience. Experience which makes a person learn and increase his/her value is a building block but in case it is an experience related to just passing of time is a road block.Whether it is a roadblock or a building block, it is the thought which decides. Experience alone cannot make a person perfect though it can help in gathering useful and relevant knowledge. Do not confuse experience with capability, and do not always think the years of experience are proportional with the wisdom you gain. If a person decides that he/she has learned enough from an experience, then it will be a roadblock whereas for a person who learns continuously it will be a building block.

Is it a better way to define experience as “lessons learned”? In learning, there should never be a contentment or satisfaction, “That we know so much that we don’t have to know anymore,” we tend to forget that, whatever or whenever or wherever, we experience, that was only one possibility of several other possibilities we left behind. Experience is not about doing the same things again and again; it is about always learning the new things through it, or the new way to do things, either it’s success or failure. It does make sense to define experience as “Lessons Learned.” If lessons are NOT Learned, then it is not experience. Any lessons learned are helpful in future progress. Since we can’t step into the same river twice, hence, experience has its limitation, it can become the “perished food” if the circumstances change. But the abstracted wisdom via lesson learned based on your experience can still be applied for problem-solving in the future.

The very theme for us is that our life is the journey with the knowledge we gain and the experience we accumulate, etc. Experience in most of the case is a mixture of success and failure. It is much more like your personal chronicle. There is a danger in considering every experience as a building block because there is a dependency on all that one has experienced. The experiences become a hindrance to future progress when experience resist you to intake knowledge, or de-learn and relearn when necessary. And the quality of the experience depends on the person’s mind (growth or static), whether it becomes the roadblock to continuous learning or a building block for the new capability and experience, and the wisdom abstracted from the lessons learned.


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