Experience is considered one of the keys to making good decisions in your life (and business). But how do you get experience? How do you make it work for you?
Experience as a benefit
When you have experience, you have made the mistakes that you won’t make again. You see future patterns and trends emerging from what you’ve noted in the past. You make decisions that are considered against your database of previous experiences in your mind.
Think how a predictive model or a suggestion algorithm works, how do they predict what you will like? How does weather forecasting work? How do they know what is likely to happen?
These models work on sorting and collating past data and analysing it to find trends and correlations. When projected forward these patterns will predict what is likely to occur in the future.
There are also patterns that repeat in life, not just in human behaviour. The fibonacci sequence is a classic example of a pattern that exists throughout nature.
The single best way to get the most relevant data into your brain for use in future decision making is to have experiences.
Fail fast. The idea of this is to gain as much experience as possible in the shortest amount of time possible.
The idea of coming up with lots of ideas, knowing that most of them will be rubbish, but there will also be one or two gems. So the goal is to come up with as many bad ideas as possible, to get the inevitable good one.
Another way is to read, to educate, to constantly learn and expose yourself to new concepts, industries, arts and lenses. Broadening your knowledge base will serve you exponentially in the future.
Experience as a hindrance
It’s possible though that experience can also be a hindrance. For innovative and new ideas or concepts, experience hampers your ability to see new possibilities. Your previous experiences act as a benchmark from which to compare this new idea to. Assumptions become excess baggage to experience.
The art is to know when an assumption is clouding your thoughts and not letting that get in the way of your decisions.
Inexperience also gives you naivety. Would you have started your business in the first place if you knew it was going to be this hard in hindsight? But then again, maybe with experience you would have had a better gauge on whether the business was worth pursuing from the start. Who knows?
The art of experience
So should you deliberately try to gain as much experience as possible? Just by living you are experiencing, just by doing you are adding to your database of knowledge from which future decisions use as a guide. So yes I think soak up knowledge, read books and fail fast.
But don’t be in a rush, don’t feel that because your project or business or goal hasn’t gotten to where you want it to get to yet, that you should feel panicked and you’re running out of time to make it work.
Because much of experience comes with time. And you don’t want time to rush you by, do you? Enjoy the journey I say.