In recent hirings, I talked with several managers about experiences of candidates. We wanted to look for candidates with experiences that we needed. We put that in job description. Many resumes we received had 15 years of experiences in a particular field but those candidates either moved too often but stayed too short from organizations to organizations or did not grow much from their positions. They looked like having one year of experience 15 times. There were candidates with fewer years of experiences but they passed our strict tests with a high flag.
Why has experience helped some and not others?
Dr. John C. Maxwell said that we begin our lives as empty notebooks. Every day we have an opportunity to record new experiences on our pages. The problem is that not all people make the best use of their notebooks. Few who do make use of their notebooks often reread what they wrote and reflect on it. Reflection turns experience into insight. Experience teaches nothing, evaluated experience teaches everything. In other words, experience is automatic, insight is not.
Dr. John C. Maxwell taught about experiences:
- We experience more than we understand. In order to close the gap between understanding and experience, write it down and reflect on it daily.
- Our attitude toward unplanned and unpleasant experiences determine our growth.
- Lack of experience is costly.
- Experience is also costly. We can not gain experience without paying a price. Experience gives the test first and the lesson later.
Mark Twain: I know a man who grabbed a cat by the tail and he learned 40 percent more about cats than the man who didnt.
- Not evaluating and learning from experience is more costly. It’s a terrible mistake to pay the price for experience and not receiving the lesson.
Mark Twain: if a cat sits on a hot stove, that cat won’t sit on that hot stove again. In fact, that cat won’t sit on a cold stove either.
- Evaluated experience lifts a person above the crowd.
How do we apply this lesson? I have a habit of writing down what happened to me since high school. Shihan Arakaki (founder and grandmaster of Musokai Karate) taught me to write down both what happened as well as what I learned. Now Dr. Maxwell taught me to write down my experience, my thoughts, my learning, and really spend time to reflect on it. The entire process takes less than 15 minutes daily but it has been a life-changing habit. It will be for you too.
For more details, please read Leadership Gold by Dr. John C. Maxwell or join one of my mastermind groups.