If I knew then …

Well. Have you ever said that? If I knew then … what I know now. Or even if you didn’t say it, maybe you thought it. Of course you have! We all do!

ExperienceThat’s life. We all learn from experience. Once you learn to ride a bike, you never seem to forget. You may get a bit rusty, but you really never forget. It’s like playing a musical instrument, you don’t forget. You lose your “chops” but you still know “how.” But actually doing the how part is what’s difficult. I speak from experience on that one. As a long time drummer who still understands the rudiments, but with execution that is now iffy at best.

Experience is a great thing. As we go through our day, we should keep in mind a very important aspect of “experience.” And it isn’t just reserved for “old people.” Age is not the determining factor. I am surrounded by younger people who have all kinds of experience that I don’t have. Maybe they have traveled somewhere that I am planning to visit and they can give me some tips. Those tips are valuable because I don’t have that experience. I don’t know which sights to see or restaurants that are the best.

Or they may have some technology skill that I need to be more aware of. Young people today become proficient using technology at very early ages. By the time they hit college or the workforce, they are ready for anything. And they also seem better at adapting as technology changes because they have grown up with it and have that familiarity where updates and changes don’t phase them.

On the other hand, more “mature” people simply have more experiences. Now that is a factor of age.  Some experiences I have had; I didn’t learn from. Why? I just didn’t understand the potential value of that experience. I do think that as you mature you do understand the value of experience more and more. With a toddler, new experiences are just part of growing. They learn to walk, to talk and to communicate – slowly at first and then more effectively. But they aren’t thinking about the value of the experiences as they acquire those skills.

No matter how you look at it, experience is valuable. Incredibly valuable. What experience is most valuable to you? Have you had some experiences that you didn’t learn from? If so, are you now able to understand what you might have failed to learn and how to take advantage of those opportunities?

The problem is, we don’t understand the value of experience until we have it. So, I encourage you to take advantage of every opportunity you have to gain experience. Especially the new ones.