Is it true that we learn from our experiences? (1)

Every person has heard his or her teachers argue thousands of times that one learns to make the right choices through experience, but this statement is far too general; it may be analogous to stating that one grows because one is nourished or that one is alive because one breathes or, more cynically, one puts it in the bill that one who does not learn to swim drowns and onward another.

Knowing that we live immersed in our daily experience, in the experience of others, and in an ever-changing environment is certainly not much more helpful. Every moment of a person’s life is part of the experiences he or she is having small or large, one has experiences from the moment of birth, for example, one learned to walk because as a child one stubbornly wanted to gain autonomy, and to do this one needs to move around. Therefore, all children make regular and continuous efforts to reach a standing position and move expeditiously. But this effort toward change does not end at an early age; it continues at every age.

A company executive told me that his problems began when he came to lead a group; before he had only to think about himself and selling, and this he had learned to do well, until he became the best. At that point he was leading a team that under his leadership should have multiplied results, instead initially it was a disaster because he terrorized his collaborators by telling them they were good-for-nothings. Having reached this point he was forced to change and learn how to manage the team or else his business would fail.

This story, which is quite common with many others that occur daily everywhere, highlights how it is of no use to speak in general terms about experiences; it is essential to understand what the demands of situations are that bring about significant changes in a person’s professional life.

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