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Knowledge & Experience: Two sides of the Learning coin

Nowadays and due to the over exposure to all kinds of information available, knowledge has become the everyday token of competitive advantage in business. It is very useful to know more than your competitors especially if that knowledge is applicable to your core mission; there is no doubt that knowledge is indeed power when the comparison frame relates directly to something (systems and data) or somebody knowing more than something or somebody else.

Knowledge in that sense means having more information stored either in our head, flash drive, the cloud etc. however to access that knowledge in a way that is true to us we need to experience it first hand; let me explain. 

We can study all there is about apples, their chemical composition, average weight, their different species, evolutionary history, glucose levels, so on and so forth. Than is knowledge, but if we’ve never tasted an apple we are missing the experience part, one that is fundamental to our true understanding of what eating an apple actually feels, tastes and it’s like. This is something I’m overly curious about, the fact is (with very few exemptions) that until we have made any knowledge our own experience this remains trapped in our heads and it’s limited to our cognitive understanding of a missing experience.

This is also one of the many reasons for which developers (for example) allocate so much time and resources to emulate the experience of the potential users, in order to discover first hand what it will be like to interact with X product or platform.  I find this subject widely useful because it extends very much to all areas of our life, from working out to meditation to productivity to creativity etc. It has been my own experience that when I have a direct experience about something it suddenly becomes “real” to me. Therefore I gain clarity about it because now all my being has experienced “it”, I have also found that learning anything is much easier when you do it and this is backed by the fact that Montessori way of teaching has proven to be the most effective form of education, if by chance you don’t know it (i recommend that you check it out) it’s a system that promotes, freedom, creativity, focus and execution, all of them related to direct experiences of learning. 

I’d like to conclude with this: If we learn things that are meaningful to us, extend our current capabilities by getting out of our comfort zones (thus extending our boundaries little by little) and we apply that knowledge in a way that integrates with ourselves through experience, there’s a very good chance we’ll be better at everything we set ourselves to achieve, be or simply enjoy.

Love, Milan P.