Hola mi gente,
Well, today was my first day of work. I believe I have come across a project I can sink my teeth into and a good team.
Experience is not what happens, but what we do with what happens.
— Aldous Huxley
Someone asked me recently whether books or direct experiences were the best teachers and it reminded me of the following story:
There was once a young scholar who came from a privileged family who spent most of time reading and studying all the great teachings. One day, while traveling, he came upon a wide river and eventually found a boatman to take him across. During the crossing, partly to pass the time and partly to impress the boatman, the young scholar described his life of studies. As he spoke, the boatman listened attentively. Then, after some time, he says to the young scholar, “You have learned much, sir — but have you learned how to swim?”
“Why no,” he replied. “I have not.”
“Then I am afraid your knowledge is of little use,” said the boatman, “for this boat is sinking.”
This is, of course, a funny over simplification, but it is true that direct experience remains the powerful teacher. However, a book can provide a map of the territory that can prepare us and enables us to learn more from our experiences. And while a book can point the way, we still must make the journey. In other words, the map isn’t the territory. So, in my estimation, it is a false choice. We don’t really have to choose between books and direct experience. Instead, the wisest course is to choose both.
It may be that it will take years of experience in order to integrate fully what we learn from books. Our perspectives change over time as life teaches and humbles us. It is the nature of life that, no matter how much we may have learned from books, we sometimes have to experience humiliation before we find wisdom. If we are receptive and open-minded, everything we encounter is a potential lesson. We succeed by failing, learn from our mistakes, and we rise up to our potential through a long and winding staircase.
My name is Eddie and I’m in recovery from civilization…
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