This particular quote/proverb has been repeated for hundreds of years and it is no more true today than when it was first created. Experience itself teaches us nothing.
There are so many people that have spent 20 years at their job. And yet, they don’t have 20 years of experience at all. They have one year’s experience 20 times. These people often want to get paid more because they have been employed there for so long. They may have been there a long time but they don’t know anymore than someone who has been there one year.
“But she is more experienced.” No. Just experiencing something does not mean that you have learned something from it. And as Will Rogers has pointed out, some of us can learn from the experiences of others; others cannot.
“There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves.”
I remember a magician performing a particular illusion in his magic show. As a professional magician myself, I knew how it was done but by the end of his routine, so did everyone in the audience. Unfortunately the door of the illusion accidentally swung open and exposed the inner workings.
I felt so bad for him at the time but then I read an article that reported the same thing happening at another show. I later found out that it had happened a number of times. Here we have plenty of experience but no learning. He was more experienced but had learned nothing. Maybe experience isn’t such a great teacher.
Experience alone teaches us nothing. We need to look at it and learn from it. It is only by evaluating our experiences that we can learn from them. What went wrong? Why? What could I have done better?
That doesn’t mean JUST learning from our mistakes. We can learn from our victories as well. A good football team looks at game film after every game; win or lose.
Experience is NOT the best teacher; evaluated experience is.