Is Experience Truly the Best Teacher?

Last Updated on October 21, 2022

The phrase “Experience is the best teacher” is one that is not new to anyone’s ears. But whether or not it is true is something that is subject to who you ask. The older generations (Gen X and the Millennials) have always believed experience to indeed be the best teacher.

In their time, when they were youths, there were not as many resources available to them as there are now. It was not as easy to find information on people who have gone through certain things and how they got through them. Most of them had to go through life using trial and error, gathering scrapes and scars as well as victories and breakthroughs along the way.

That is not to say that people are not still doing that at this time because there are so many things you can’t appreciate or understand in life until you experience them. For example, you could read about how to ride a bike, you could watch YouTube videos about it, you could read about other people’s experiences with riding a bike for the first time but nothing can possibly prepare you for your first time riding a bike.

No matter “how to ride a bike” YouTube videos you have watched, you are still quite likely to fall a couple of times before getting it right.

Experience vs knowledge

The acquisition of information and ideas is emphasized in knowledge. On the other hand, experience emphasizes practice, or the application of information over a lengthy period of time, to strengthen understanding of a subject or a task.

While experience might help you learn more about a subject or task, instruction cannot provide you with experience. Time, exposure, and practice all contribute to one’s experience. It is based on actual experience rather than speculation. Knowledge, on the other hand, is based on the gathering of data through either experience or instruction. Unlike experience, it can be taught.

Experience comes from a variety of sources, the most common of which is working on something and understanding how it works as well as easier ways to make it function. It’s beneficial to have people around who have specific experience with the stuff you’re seeking because they can almost probably assist you in achieving what you require to accomplish.

However, actual experience comes from trial and error, and it is your mistakes that make you a person of great wisdom and knowledge in the long run. It demonstrates what works and what doesn’t, as well as a general solution to the problem.

Reasons why you need experience

It helps you understand the theory behind the concepts

While it is necessary to study concepts from books, you will not be able to use such concepts in real life unless you grasp how they are applied. It’s a big difference between reading about coding and making a working mobile app.

Experience puts you in the thick of things and allows you to put what you’ve learned into practice. Take on projects, construct a portfolio, and put what you’ve learned into practice when you’ve finished all of your reading and courses. There’s only so much a book can teach you. Your education will be useless if you don’t apply concepts in real-life situations.

It allows you to become an expert in your field

Musicians, athletes, chemists, and doctors did not become experts just by reading books. Reading books offered the knowledge, but it was their experience that provided the know-how. Because they practised their craft over and over, they developed expertise.

Experts do not emerge from the pages of a textbook. Experts are self-made because they have put in the time, effort, and practice to acquire their position. It is their experience that distinguishes them from the rest of the pack. Practice and experience are necessary if you want to be an expert in your profession. It’s something that no amount of book learning can make up for.

Experience is etched in your memory

Improvement comes from practice. And the more you practice, the more you’ll be able to establish new neural pathways in your brain that will help you get better at what you’re doing. The more practice you have with the concepts you study, the more proficient you will become at the skills required to grasp those concepts.

The abilities and concepts will become second nature to you as you gain experience. They will get ingrained in who you are and will eventually become a part of you. Consider a medical student who goes from memorizing the symptoms of ailments to effectively diagnosing them. Instead of requiring book knowledge, you’ll have the experience to really write a book after the concepts are ingrained in your mind.

It allows you to learn from your mistakes

In any sector, we will grow the most when we have the confidence to attempt new things and stop being afraid of making mistakes. The more we practice the abilities we’ve learnt, the more we fine-tune them until they’ve become second nature. Attempting new things and making blunders both have worth.

“I didn’t fail,” Edison claimed of the lightbulb. I just discovered 2,000 ways not to create a lightbulb; all I had to do now was figure out how to make it function.” Edison improved his ability to create the one successful method with each repeat. Edison made one of the greatest discoveries of his time as a result of those 2,000 “mistakes.”

We can fail because of our lack of experience, but we can also learn from our mistakes and use our failures to our advantage. That is invaluable information that cannot be found in any book.

Final Thoughts

Knowledge and experience are equally crucial, and both are the most effective ways to keep moving forward every day. A day spent without learning something is always a wasted day.

If you want to comprehend the theory behind the principles, become an expert in your industry, ingrain your trade into your memory, and learn from your failures, then experience will be your most useful friend in your professional development.

Before you go…

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