When you interview for a job, the first question is usually about your experience. The interviewer wants to know about what you’ve set out to do, what you’ve failed at, and what you’ve accomplished; she’s less interested in the books, magazines, and blogs you’ve read.
It’s getting clearer each day that corporate execs are unlikely to hire obedient drones to do mindless tasks if they can cheaply automate or outsource those tasks. The value of human experience—wisdom beyond mere book learning—is more precious than ever. Your value to a company, an organization, or your own small business is directly related to how much wisdom you’ve accumulated over the years.
I’ve been blessed with extraordinary teachers who’ve granted me the opportunity for extraordinary experiences. In grammar school, my science teacher had me doing side projects to keep me out of trouble. In high school, I enrolled in a meditation class with an eccentric Jesuit priest. In college, I took a programming job in my professor’s psychology lab.
In each of these cases, my “hands on” experiences impacted me in life-changing ways. It’s one thing to read about doing science (“word-lessons”) and it’s quite another to actually do it (“world-lessons”).
Seth Godin, marketing guru, frequently urges his readers to go out and do something, to ship something. Ironically, companies that fail early and fail often are likely to learn more and excel. Similarly, if you want to paint, or write software, or do marketing, just do it. Don’t wait for anyone’s permission. Find something that moves you and get started.
Internet-connected devices can give us access to information in the blink of an eye, but they can’t give us wisdom. It’s up to you to go out and experience the world, take chances, learn things, do mini-experiments. Bring wisdom—world-lessons, not word- lessons—to your craft. The world needs your brilliance, now more than ever.
About Tony Cecala
Tony is a business strategist. He publishes the Holistic Networker and produces the Wellness Expo. In his spare time he reads about technology and the mind.