3 Ways Experience Improves Knowledge

While knowledge is crucial in the pursuit of success and personal growth, it can only go so far without the accompanying power of experience.

Society often emphasizes knowledge, training, or the prestige of a person’s workplace. But we should genuinely value experience. Experience is the ultimate component of proficiency. One can amass all the training in the world, put in long hours, or practice at a renowned company. But nothing can replace real-world experience.

Being Humbled By Experience

When I started farming with my father, my task during harvest became the truck driver. In my early years, we used smaller grain augers with gas motors. Usually, things worked well, but at least once per year, one of these gas motors would refuse to start for me. My Dad had taught me to troubleshoot gas motors, so I would go through all the tips and tricks he showed me, but inevitably, nothing would work. The engine would not start, and I would have to get Dad off the combine to help start it. 

Each time, my Dad began by repeating the same steps I had previously done. I would tell him emphatically that I had done these things. But to my eternal frustration (and embarrassment), Dad would start the motor immediately, leaving me feeling inadequate and questioning my abilities. 

To my eyes, my Dad had done nothing different, yet he could always start the motor immediately. Looking back, however, there was a big difference between what I did and what my Dad did. My Dad had already farmed for 39 years before I joined the operation, and unlike me, he had taken the time to learn about internal combustion engines. I knew how the motor worked, but not intrinsically. So when the motor gave me issues, I usually knew what was wrong. Sometimes, it flooded. Sometimes, I needed to clean the air filter or blow out the fuel filter. And for each situation, I knew what steps I had to take to fix the problem. 

On the other hand, my Dad had a deep understanding of motors. He knew how to diagnose a problem and comprehended what each step in the troubleshooting sequence was accomplishing internally. So even though it appeared that my Dad was doing the same thing as I was, my father understood the purpose of each step, and both listened and observed for signs that I was oblivious to. Thus, while I adhered to a technique, Dad operated based on what he sensed the engine required. And so he was always able to start the temperamental engine immediately.

My Favourite Story About Experience

My favourite story that exemplifies my real-world experience is of the Old Man and the Hammer.

A giant ship’s engine failed. The ship’s owners tried hiring one ‘professional’ after another, but no one could figure out how to fix the broken engine.

Then, they brought in a man who had been fixing ships since he was young. He carried a large bag of tools and immediately went to work when he arrived. He scrutinized the engine, top to bottom.

Two of the ship’s owners were there watching this man, hoping he would know what to do. After looking things over, the old man reached into his bag and pulled out a small hammer. He gently tapped something. Instantly, the engine lurched into life. He then carefully put his hammer away. He had fixed the engine!!!

A week later, the owners received an invoice from the old man for $10,000.

“What?” the owners exclaimed. “He hardly did anything!”.

So they wrote to the man, “Please send us an itemised invoice.”

The man sent an invoice that read:

Tapping with a hammer………………….. $2.00
Knowing where to tap…………………….. $9,998.00

The Power of Actual Experience

While knowledge is undoubtedly crucial in pursuing success and personal growth, it can only go so far without the accompanying power of experience. Experience allows individuals to bridge the gap between theory and practice, develop practical skills, and build confidence and resilience, all essential for mastering a subject and achieving success.

One of the ways experience enriches knowledge is by bridging the gap between theory and practice. Textbooks and classrooms can only provide a foundation, while experience enables individuals to encounter the complexities, nuances, and challenges that real-world situations present. It allows for applying and adapting knowledge to diverse scenarios, enhancing understanding and effectiveness.

Moreover, experience is instrumental in developing practical skills. Although knowledge provides information, hands-on experience helps individuals refine their abilities, learn from their mistakes, and gain the necessary competencies to navigate real-life scenarios. These practical skills complement and amplify theoretical knowledge, making individuals excel in their chosen fields.

Lastly, experience helps individuals build confidence and resilience, which are vital to success. When individuals face and overcome real-world challenges, they develop confidence in their abilities and gain the strength to persevere in the face of obstacles. Individuals cannot achieve this confidence and resilience solely through theoretical knowledge; they require firsthand encounters and the lessons they impart.

Over time, life presents us with variables that challenge our knowledge and training. The more you encounter diverse variables, the more adept you become at handling and anticipating them. The more you engage and strive to comprehend these variables’ challenges, the better equipped you will be to handle future ones.

How much training and experience do Thai Massage Practitioners require?

How many hours of training does a Thai massage practitioner need for certification? How often should a practitioner further their training? What criterion should practitioners use to set rates?

Foot massage in the street in Thailand

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