Experience the solution with experience, the solution
A young lawyer and his mentor were enjoying their regular lunch. The older lawyer, a senior partner in the firm, liked the sense of well-being he got from passing his wisdom on to this young man. The young man had, over the years, gained much from the relationship in terms of contacts, knowledge, and confidence.
This day, this lunch, the young lawyer wanted to broach a personal topic.
Cautiously he began, “I have a personal question; I hope you will not be offended.”
“It is obvious that you have succeeded as a lawyer, partner and leader in the community, and I have benefited from your wisdom and insight over the years.” After a pause, he continued, “is there a key to your success, something that stands out, that you could share? “
The mentor had been cutting his meat. Briefly pondering the question, he thought, ‘how can I answer this? There is nothing I can tell him. Each of us has to learn and find his own path.’
Resting his knife and fork on the plate, he said, “That is a great question.” Gathering his thoughts, he replied, “the key to my success is making right decisions, lots of right decisions.” He returned to his lunch.
Again the young man hesitated. He thought, ‘what am I supposed to do with an answer like that; not only is it trivial, it begs the question?’
After a moment, he said, “okay, how do you know when you are making right decisions?”
The mentor smiled as he replied, “Experience. You need lots of experience.”
Now the young man was puzzled. Every answer led to another question. How long would this go on? He knew from past conversations that his mentor did not waste time. So, he pushed ahead. He asked, “Alright, how did you get experience?”
The elder, with a twinkle in his eye, said, “Wrong decisions. Lots of wrong decisions.”
The mentor was wise. We have to find our own path.
We cannot be told how to succeed. We have to learn, and that takes experience, and experience often comes from making mistakes.
I was not born with a knowledge of hot stoves; I had to experience it. I was not born with the knowledge of parenting; I had to experience it. I was not born with knowledge of sobriety; I had to experience it. And no amount of talk could substitute for the experiences.
In all areas of life, if I am mindful and aware, wrong decisions can lead to experience, can lead to learning, can lead to right decisions.