Learning From Experience

The last few weeks have been intense.  When stress goes up I tend to worry about dropping one of the balls I am juggling.  If in the process I make some tiny mistake, I tend to magnify the mistake and this further stimulates my fears of failure.  I then make conservative decisions that narrow the kinds of experiences I am likely to have.

I was having a hard time lifting myself out of my stress driven darkness.  I went to my first meeting.  A friend had asked me to help because a seemingly impossible problem had emerged.  As we met the people seemed hopeless.  Their problem was in my area of expertise.  After a time I surfaced a path they had not considered.  Suddenly they went from despair to hope.  The shift in them was stark.

Given my expertise, it was a fairly easy thing to do, but what I noticed was a shift in my own emotional state.  The feelings of anticipatory shame disappeared.  I felt increased meaning in my life.  As this happened, something else happened.  I felt an increase sense of confidence and my sense of stress decreased.  I felt like I could handle things.  I was again ready to commit to challenging experiences.  This insight was really striking.  It led me to ponder the connections between commitment, experience and learning.  Further insights came and I was ready to try new things.

I find myself continually teaching people to ponder their own experiences.  Doing so often leads to learning and the expansion of personal capacity.  It is a crucial skill.


  • What does it mean to reflect upon our own experiences?
  • What skills come from the process?
  • If you had to teach a lesson on this topic what personal experiences would you draw upon?
  • How could we use this passage to create a more positive organization?

One comment on “Learning From Experience

  1. I think there’s two polarities from which live – one based in our stories of fear – when we are governed by our own littliness and part self-restricting beliefs. Or, we are standing in love, when we give and serve others. Then we experience joy, passion, no stress. I would rather say that reflect on the emotional inner state and what thought stories are hidden behind those emotions, because our experiences are the reflections of the continuous stories we tell ourselves. In the experience above, you changed thoughts to better ones (I can handle, it’s my area of expertise).

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