The key word here is “always”. Experience is always teaching us. No matter what. And not just one experience. Every single experience!
We’re always learning from our experiences. And that’s why experience isn’t always a great teacher…not if we don’t learn the most effective lessons from it.
For experience to be a great teacher, we need to improve our consciousness, our awareness in the lessons that we’re learning.
What have you learnt today from your experiences?
And how is it serving you in your life?
Let’s take a look at a scenario where experience is a bad teacher.
Regina has been in a relationship for 3 years now. It’s one of her first serious relationships as an adult. It’s not perfect and it has more ups than downs, but she’s kind of happy. She lives with her boyfriend, Ralph. They’ve lived together for 2 years now. When they first met, she loved Ralph’s sense of humour. He always knew how to make her laugh. But when they started getting serious, Ralph turned that humour on her.
At first it was a joke. It was harmless. But as time goes on, it gets worse. Little jabs at her weight and the odd shape of her nose increased with greater frequency. Eventually, they turned nasty. The one day Regina arrived home from shopping with two grocery bags in her hands. Ralph was lying on the couch and turned his head to see her come in.
“I never thought I’d see the day where a whale was carrying the shopping. We should film this and sell it to the news people. We’ll be rich.”
Regina doesn’t say anything. It isn’t the first time he had said something like this. Yes, it is deeply hurtful, but instead of saying so, Regina goes into the kitchen and starts thinking about this experience.
Well, maybe I am as fat as a whale. I have been putting on a few kilograms lately, she thinks to herself. Maybe it’s time that I started going on that diet that I’ve been planning on going on since I got together with Ralph. Maybe he’ll love me better if I lose some weight. I mean, he’s a big guy and he should have a slim woman to take care of him.
She justifies what Ralph has said while she’s packing away the groceries. By the time she’s done, she’s feeling better and joins him on the couch. She’s turned her experience into a learning. Is it the most effective learning? Will it bring her the most happiness?
Let’s use the same example.
Regina wakes up the very next day. She’s hurt and resentful of Ralph’s comments from the day before. In fact, she’s downright angry.
She wants to scream at him.
To punch him. She wants to…to…
Ice cold fear pours over her anger, turning it to cool steam.
Ralph’s a good man. He doesn’t mean what he says, she thinks.
Instead of screaming, shouting and punching, Regina signs up for a gym contract with immediate effect. She signs up for a personal coach and a diet plan and she gyms every day. A month later she’s lost 10 kgs. Two months later and she’s lost 30 kgs.
One day she’s having coffee with her friend, Jessica.
“Regina, you’re looking amazing.” Jessica leans in and smiles. “And look at all these guys checking you out!”
Regina blushes. “Is that what they’re doing? I thought there was something on my face!”
“Oh, come on. You’re stunning.”
“Oh stop it.”
“I’m serious. I saw seven people turn their heads to take a double look back at you. And that was just walking up from the car park. Haven’t you noticed this?”
“I have. But to be honest, I thought that there was something wrong with the way that I was dressed. Do I look okay?”
“No, Regina. You don’t look ‘okay’. You look amazing!”
She blushes again. She’s not used to these complements. They make her feel warm and glowing, as if she’s bursting at the seams with this feeling that she’s never experiences before. After her coffee, she goes home. As she opens the door, Ralph is on the couch. He turns his head, rolling his eyes up to see her come in.
“Did somebody order a scarecrow? We don’t exactly have—
Without thinking, Regina throws her handbag at Ralph. It hits him in the head and he squeals into an upright position, holding his throbbing head.
“Dammit, Regina! What’s your problem?”
A clear light goes on in her head.
“You’re my problem, Ralph. I see that now. You’re my problem. You had an issue when I was heavy. You have an issue now that I’ve lost weight. You’re my problem! Wait, let me rephrase that. You were my problem. I’m done with you. Goodbye, Ralph. This is over. I’ll fetch my things in the morning.”
She snatches her handbag from the couch, turns and leaves. Ralph is still trying to mumble something behind her. She doesn’t care. It’s the like the echo of a song she once liked. A song that she’s outgrown.
Buckminster Fuller understood the value of learning from experience. But conscious learning from experience. The sort of learning that benefits the whole of mankind.
When we are able to take lessons from our experiences, we’re able to grow. That’s the beauty of experience.
P.S. If you’d like to check out a few more insights from Bucky, check out another post about being naive here.
Until next time…
© The Brilliance Quotient 2018