Experience Is The Best Teacher

We have all heard the idea of experience teaching.

There is little question it teaches, but be careful. “Experience teaches” is an incomplete thought. Learn to assess two-sided thoughts. Cost-Benefit, Risk-Reward, Growth-Security, and more. Ask yourself, “Is experience worth the price?” Cost-Benefit. Think about this: “Experience is the best teacher, and for its price, it damned well better be.”

The wisdom is that you need not learn solely from your own experience. You might remember your own experience better, but how much would you lose if you got as much cheap experience as you could some other way.

Cheaper experience

Cheap experience has advantages.

  1. The cost to acquire it is less. With your own experience, you get it all or none and for whatever price is offered.
  2. The cost is controllable. More experience costs more, but you need not learn all of it.
  3. The time it takes to get it is less because it’s organized. With your own experience, the lessons are unlikely to be in the right order.

Organization matters. When you are learning something new, you cannot easily assess what parts are valuable. Quantum theory first appeared in 1900, but it was 26 years later before Max Born provided the mathematics we use to make it useful. The statistical interpretation of the wave function.

The cheapest experience is other people’s experience. No matter how ambitious you are, you cannot make all the mistakes possible, nor can you achieve all the possible successes. Most of the experience we receive is from others. That’s what education is about.

Careful selection of your education elements is a clear advantage to success. Think cost-benefit.

Some experience can be assessed using opportunity cost ideas. What is the cost to do nothing or something different? The things you do not do have a cost too. You should estimate those costs

Another method is to take the information you can find and perform a thought experiment using it. A vicarious experience has nearly the same experiential result, without cost.

Nature is not so helpful.

“Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards.”  Vernon Law

The bits to take away

Experience allows you to attach the world around you to the aspects of your life you already know.

Learn the best of what other people already know.

When you learn by experience you also learn the techniques to apply it

I build strategic, fact-based estate and income plans. The plans identify alternate ways to achieve spending and estate distribution goals. In the past, I have been a planner with a large insurance, employee benefits, and investment agency, a partner in a large international public accounting firm, CEO of a software start-up, a partner in an energy management system importer, and briefly in the restaurant business. I have appeared on more than 100 television shows on financial planning. I have presented to organizations as varied as the Canadian Bar Association, The Ontario Institute of Chartered Accountants, The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food, and Banks – from CIBC to the Business Development Bank.

Be in touch at 705-927-4770 or by email at don.shaughnessy@gmail.com.

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