Ideal Learning Experience versus Wisdom


Ideal Learning Experience versus Wisdom

Experience, they say, is the best teacher, but to learn consciously through wisdom may even be a better and more convenient way. To learn by experience is to learn from mistakes. It means you have burnt your fingers and now ‘your eyes are open’. This is a tough, costly and inconvenient way to learn. Rather than leaving our learning to experience, why don’t we learn consciously through wisdom? We can learn by consciously going out of our way to acquire knowledge and wisdom rather than leave our learning to chance. Surely, we can learn from mistakes but why wait till we make mistakes before we learn? We should give more premium to learning by wisdom than by experience. Ideal Learning Experience versus Wisdom

This will involve one making up one’s mind to be decisive in learning. We must decide to learn consciously and not necessarily from experiences. The first step is to realize that life is simply the outcome and outplay of decisions we make. Our life now is the sum total of our decision and our future will be determined by our decisions of today. If we decide to learn today we are less likely to make mistakes and when we do make mistakes, experience need not be our best teacher.

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To avoid making experience our best teacher will take more than a decision. We must couple our decision with a complete and wholehearted devotion. We must be resolved, resolute and resilient in our bid to learn by wisdom and not necessarily by experience. This is crucial because situations and circumstance will want us to make a detour and leave our learning and life to chance. We must therefore be disciplined to remain with our resolve to make a clean break with experience as our best teacher. Discipline in this regards means learning something new every day by wisdom rather than experience. It means consciously getting better by the day in your chosen field. Discipline will demand taking advantage of every learning opportunity that comes our way. It will mean we must pay the price( with resources and time) for learning by wisdom – invest in books, magazines, seminars and other means by which we may become wiser.

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It is easier and cheaper to learn consciously by wisdom than to learn by experience. When we learn by experience, the deed is done and we are just picking up the pieces – learning in regrets how to avoid such predicament next time. Consider a student who refuses to attain classes and to do his class assignments and then fails in an exam, the child who grasps a burning coal, he has learned the hard way through the painful experience, but his fingers will remain burnt. Thus, the saying, that experience is the best teacher, may not be justifiable after all.


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Reference : Adapted from Sunday Tribune, July 2007, UTME English Language 2012 Question Paper Type Green Passage III.

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