A Real Education: Experience

Each experience teaches us volumes

Milking a cow, making a friend, getting a Christmas tree, hunting, butchering, finding a place by yourself that you’ve never been to before, building a roof, winter camping, having a girlfriend, breaking up, having a job, going to school, drawing/sketching, making a sandwich…

I have learned so much, and with every new experience I add to the vast and numerous volumes of knowledge and understanding which are mine. If I stopped having anymore experiences and stopped going to school I would still have more to tell than I could convey in a lifetime. I am an asset in that sense. I have a brain that is full of information but also full of potential. Just like the internet, every second our brain is uploading new data. What we need to figure out is how to browse this web and find the information which others will value.

When we are old and our grand children ask us about our childhood we finally tap into this reserve. Most of our experiences are shared by others so they aren’t interesting to our peers, but children are ready and interested to know how we reacted to certain situations. It is valuable to them. Again it is like the internet, not every topic is interesting to everyone, but each one is of interest to someone and probably quite a few people.

Monetizing 

Of course everything I put on here is for the end of reaching my goal, so how does one go about monetizing this vast resource of ours?

First, we need to find a way to find useful information in us and get it out. We can do this by writing or teaching what we know.

Second, we need to find the market, or those few or many to whom it is valuable.

If there is something which you are expert in, usually a hobby or subject of interest, you may be able to write a book or teach a class on it.

Accelerated learning

One of the common threads I have found in books on entrepreneurship is the value of experience. They usually urge you to get out there and fail, take chances, try it out. Perhaps success is not always expected or even desired but the act of trying will always teach you something valuable. I find that the more outrageous the endeavor the more there is to be learned.

How do you accelerate learning? Fail.

Failed Endeavor

I had spent the last few months studying marketing strategies and thought I was very learned on the subject. So I had the idea that I could make myself useful by offering to local businesses my “expertise”. I went to a book store and asked to talk to the guy in charge of marketing. There wasn’t one so the girl took my name, number and noted my business for the owner. I never did get a call. Maybe the owner never got my message but I’m sure that he looked at it and said to himself “who is this punk, trying to tell me how to run my business?” and never thought twice about it.

What did I learn from this? First of all if I was to do it again I would have dressed the part. Jeans, sneakers and a hoodie are not exactly business material. Secondly I brought myself down to earth about what I actually knew; I began to wonder afterward what I would do if I actually did land an interview with a business owner. I had no presentation, no credentials, not even a plan in mind. I just thought that I would make it up as I went. I realized how naive my endeavor was and actually hoped that I never got a call.

While revealing these experiences is not at all flattering it is part of the process and must be recorded. Swallow your pride and tell it. Having tried a few of the ideas that were knocking around in my head I came to understand things better and progress in my education of business.

Experiences are more valuable than they ever are painful. I hope that I never lose the courage to try new things.

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