In the world today we have a lot of information at our finger tips.
As a part of the millennial generation in the world, I have asked myself, on many occasions, the question of what it must have been like not to have Google at the ready to answer any question that you may have. Can you imagined having to dig through rows and rows of books in the library? I am not fully a “digitally native” and had to do it a few times when I was at university, quickly learning that often the best books to quote from for the prescribed history essay were always signed out. This meant learning to be resourceful and reading a few of the books that were recommended, but required you to dig a little deeper into their chapters to extract relevant information to help you substantiate your point of view.
Before I digress. Let’s get back to the point of learning from experience.
I can clearly picture the first cell phone that my parents had, a “brick”, as they later became known. It even has an extendable aerial! The cell phone and later the iPhone in 2007 changed the world. They provided instant access to extended communities with a push of a button, they gave us access to real time information in the palm of our hand, and gifted up a dictionary with infinite pages.
Experience comes in many different forms and offers us a variety of learning opportunities. We gained access through cell phones, but what did this experience actually do for us? In a very simple answer, it connected us and transformed the way we communicate. It gave us the opportunity to connect with others and it doing so it provided a different channel for the sharing of lived experiences.
Humans are social beings. We learn from one another and through shared experiences we can enrich our thinking. Creating collective collaboration and knowledge transfer between generations is something that has been passed down through history. The lessons you learnt from the generations before you, the skills you were taught on the sports field, the book you read from the early 1900s or a podcast you listened to from 2010.
Allowing yourself to learn from experience is a mindset, to a certain extend our brains learn subconsciously and you can explore the research about the amount of information a baby learns when they are very young if you want to venture down this rabbit hole. I would like to spent a few words talking about conscious learning, the effort and intention you have to putting yourself out into the world. Seeking different views and opinions that challenge your own thinking.
The first time we learn something new, it often isn’t easy and it takes a bit of getting used to. But the key is to keep showing up, don’t turn away from a new experience just because something didn’t go well the first time. Sure, there will be times where you know if you gut that you should throw in the towel. By in large though see if you can venture back a second or third time, embrace the suck and see if you can learn something from it.
In the world today we have a large amount of information at our finger tips and this provides remarkable opportunities. However, I think that we need to create far more spaces to build collective collaboration to provide opportunities for knowledge transfer across generations. It’s one thing having the tools to learn, but an entirely different and richer story when you have the opportunity to engage with the experience you have while learning.
Let’s not confuse learning with a formal education. Learning is something that is continuous and needs to be nurtured throughout our journey through life