“If a man with money meets a man with experience, the man with money will gain some experience but the man with experience will gain some money.”
I’ve shared this quote many times with my audiences. It’s a clear indication about the power of experience and the potential experience brings to a situation. Let me share a personal example to illustrate my point.
When I left teaching to become a Chemist in a newly opened chemical manufacturing facility, I started my new career working with two chemist that had 20 years of experience in this field. I was uncomfortable and a bit afraid because I lacked so much knowledge. I worried I might not make a successful transition into this new profession. But fortunately, my colleagues freely shared their experiences, expertise and knowledge with a young nervous guy. I asked questions, accepted their advice and direction and took copious notes about every analytical procedure I was required to perform. The result—I gained 20 years of experience in my first year. I’m still grateful for the rapid learning curve I received from my mentors and the valuable lesson they taught me about sharing our experiences.
The learning curve for gaining experience can either be short or extend over a long period of time. In the example I just shared, I learned a lot in one year. This solid foundation opened the door for advancement opportunities and a productive, rewarding 32 year career. Experience was my initial teacher and the experience I gained enabled me to develop and teach many people working under my leadership. As a manager, I was not afraid to share what I knew just as my original unselfish mentors did with me.
Experience is the backbone for learning new information and the learning curve is greatly accelerated with the help of good mentors. Experience becomes an important element that can prevent an emergency from becoming a disaster. As I’m writing this I recall a situation that occurred many years ago as I was flying into the Tokyo airport. Wind shear hit us as we approached the runway and shook the plane like a rag doll. A once noisy plane because silent in an instant as we all feared for our life. We landed safely but I was constantly thinking about that wind shear as I sat and waited to board my flight home. When we took off, wind shear once again reared its ugly head. The pilot shifted the angle of our flight to an almost vertical position pushing everyone back into their seats. In short period, the flight leveled off and became smooth. What saved us when we were landing and taking off? The experience of the pilots!
But there is a cautious side of experience we need to discuss. When experience causes complacent behavior, we run the risk of not taking the right actions to prevent failures. When our experience produces overconfidence, we run the risk of doing less than our best. We cannot allow ourselves to fall into either trap. When we fail to adequately prepare for an important business meeting or project because we are complacent or overconfident, the result can be lost business or worse, loss of employment!
Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group said, “There are few things more valuable to an entrepreneur than being able to call upon experience to make decisions.” And, Mahatma Gandhi amplified what Branson said by sharing that “Knowledge gained through experience is far superior and many times more useful than bookish knowledge”
Let’s not be guilty of forgetting how valuable experience can be for us. Learn all you can from every source you can find. Use the information gained and the situations you’ve faced in your life to gain valuable experience to be the difference maker on your personal path to greater successes.
After all, who couldn’t use a bit more money!!
Originally published on February 20, 2016 by SpeakerMatch Speakers Bureau