Researchers at the University of Michigan found that people with lots of work experience tend to over-rely on routine ways of doing things.
In contrast, people with less experience tend to be more flexible and open to new ideas.
The study showed that both types of people can dramatically improve our performance in anything we do but only if we understand the value of our experiences!
Experience is the best teacher, but only if we let it teach us. People with experience often think they know it all. They have a “prescription” for what to do in any situation. But the “experts” are almost always wrong about what to do.
In most cases, experience is a giant “blind spot.” Often, people with tons of experience will say they are not smart enough to know what to do when faced with a complex problem. And that attitude sucks. It is an enormous disservice to your own mental and emotional growth.
No one is perfect, but intelligent people learn from mistakes. So the first step to increasing your expertise is to admit when you are wrong. And the second step is to keep learning.
We can never have enough experience. However, we must constantly evaluate what experiences are worth keeping and which ones we should let go. Far too often, we miss out that sometimes our experiences do expire and have no relevant value in a different timeframe.
Therefore the key is to constantly process the experience to be the wisdom that can be our guide. Wisdom comes from evaluating our experiences and using what is truly useful, and discarding the rest.
Experience sets boundaries that we should not cross. People with experience in a field know the limits of what they can and cannot do. Unconsciously, we have let our experiences form our base and ceiling to what we can or can’t do in life. For example, our past experiences of failure often set in as our ceiling automatically. Inability to process from that experience often causes us to be imprisoned by the limitation of our past experiences.
Experience should not be the ceiling but a base for further growth. The next time you feel fearful of attempting something because of your past experience, perhaps it’s a good time to process what holds you back. It is probably time to let go of your expired experience and let it be the base for you to scale higher.