“Learning how to live from experience is part of the human condition” says Suzy Welch. From her statement one can read it as it is not so much that we have to experience things to be able to relate to living but learning to live from those experiences. How many bad life experiences have totally derailed people completely from life’s journey? I sometimes wonder if it is entirely necessary to experience things in life to say that “I have lived”? I think that there is a bit of narcissism in that even a bit of judgement, “you haven’t experienced that, so you have no authority or right to speak to me about it”. I wonder how that type of mentality impacts on our next generation of we are so quick to impart such judgements or opinions? How many of us has even been ruled out of parenting due to these statements? Or even ministry? I definitely have not and will not experience everything that my kids will experience. But then again, does experience qualify us for life?
I am also of the opinion that we do not have to experience everything in this life to know right or wrong, good or bad. Just take a look around you and that should also be our learning curvature in life. I have seen this and that with my parents, therefore I do not have to experience it in my personal capacity, I have learnt the lesson. What about learning from history, famous people, politicians, the homeless, the addicts, children, teenagers? We have so many people experiencing things that I wonder why we have to be so arrogant as to say “I want to learn through my own mistakes”. I am not advocating that we do not live our lives, or that we live such cautionary lives that we become hermits and become secluded in our thinking and lifestyles. What I am saying is take heed when someone who genuinely cares about you gives caution.
This past week I had experienced something that so many people have warned me about and from, and if only I had heeded to their advice I would have been spared much grief and disappointment. This was a typical example of where I did not have to experience something myself to experience it (Yet in my heart I knew what the outcome would have been). How can I safeguard my heart from such future experiences? How can I protect myself from myself? How can I live a full life without potentially risking a complete derailing? Life is tough as it is, why still stack the odds against yourself?
My question thus:
- Is it really that important to experience things personally to know the outcome?
- Can we not learn from the many stories and people around us and save us from much grief and struggles?
- How can we advise and encourage the next generation if we are so arrogant and judgemental in our opinions of experience?
I wonder… Well that was just my experience on this take in any case!