Experience is the best teacher. That’s what they told us. So we went around trying to experience everything we could. Meanwhile, everyone kept telling us what to do. Claiming they had experienced it all before.
If they had experienced it all before, why don’t they want us to also experience it? It was after we got our hands burnt time and again, we realized we needed to learn more from others, rather than experience things ourselves.
At an odd moment, a light bulb came on in our head. How come they didn’t listen to those who came before them? How come they had personally experienced it all before? Was there an added advantage to experiencing it yourself?
We began to properly look into people’s experiences. It dawned on us that people’s experiences were as different as their faces. And when we tried applying their experiences to our situations, it was like fitting a square peg in a round hole.
Do we go back to experience everything all over again? How do we know whose advice to follow? Are we bound to repeat the mistakes of those that have gone before us? How come some people seem to never take a wrong step?
Our eyes got opened to books. We began to hear stories differently. It was like every movie had a second layer of meaning. We didn’t need to have seen it all. All we needed to do was to observe and learn.
The problem with experience though? It often held us back. We remember things from our past, we see patterns playing out before us, and we have to react.
Someone tells us something can be done. Because we remember how we failed at it in the past, we are reluctant to give it a go. Experience had taught us too much for our own good.
Then we learned about the power of observation and deductive reasoning. We looked at our experience and that of others, we compared it to the situation ahead of us, and we come up with the best response.
Experience might have been the best teacher, but observation seems to be the most effective one.