The Wright Way

The Wright Way

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The Clue of Experience

Experience is something each and every one of us has, yet we rarely use it in the way we should. Nobody ever tells us how to use it, and I often wonder whether that is because nobody ever told them how to use it. Of course everyone will tell us that we have to “learn from experience” – but since no one ever teaches us how to learn either, there is little wonder that we don’t always “learn from experience.”

Around experience there is this idea that we have to go through it, or gain it over time or through repeated action. Yet, this is rather like the way we assume that "Practice Makes Perfect" – in that we merely have to “do something” enough times to gain mastery of it. For this reason, Experience is deemed to be something the young do not yet have, for surely it is only as we get older that we gain a wealth of experience. Yet, we all know of young people who can demonstrate a maturity beyond their years - so how can that be? Unless it is perhaps that maturity, like that, comes from how we use our Experience? Or perhaps it is something even more profound?

So here is what I describe as the Clue of Experience.

Experience is an awakening to the possibilities of how something might Be, or function or work or operate.

All discoveries and inventions are built upon this premise. From the baby and toddler discovering things in his or her world, to the great thinkers, creators and inventors through history – they have all used Experience in this way.

You and I also started out using our Experience this way, and then as we were growing up we were pointed towards, guided to - or assumed - another path that took us "elsewhere."


Now, like all awakenings, there is a period of time before we have awareness. It is easiest if you consider this first in physical terms, when we awaken from sleep. We don’t always have awareness straight away, though this arrives sooner or later, depending on our physical and mental state.
Now, in terms of Experience, here too we don’t always have an awareness straight away. This, too, arrives sooner or later – and sometimes, very much later! Some Experience is in our nature, hard-wired you might say, just waiting for the moment or moments of awakening.

Insightful experience is an awakening to something we already intuitively know, yet have not hitherto had an awareness of.

When a fledgling bird is learning to fly it is certainly not using a process of its intellect. It is awakening to something it already intuitively knows, yet hitherto does not have an awareness of.
The same applies to us when we learn to walk. We and our parents don’t spend time thumbing through the “How to Walk” manual and then trying things out. It is, as it is for the parents of the fledgling birds, that our Mums and Dads are guiding us through the first of our many awakening
and insightful experiences. And, with walking, we are gaining an awareness of controlling our own movement.

Now let’s add observation into the equation of Experience, for out of all observation comes the art of modelling. Part of our learning to walk comes from our going through a process of “Watch and Copy” – which is the essence of modelling, of course. We’ve already watched older people walking long before we gain our own awareness of the walking experience – and the same applies, let’s say, to driving a car, or playing a musical instrument, or wielding a sporting implement, or using or doing ANYTHING. The list is as endless and as infinite as you can imagine.

It is our Awareness of our Experience that is the key to our learning from it. The higher the level of awareness we have, the quicker we learn – the more Awareness we have about how we learn at our best, the greater the depth and breadth of our learning Experience of anything and everything.
We can Experience many things, but without the Awareness that should go with it, we will never gain any mastery or maturity.
When fledglings fly into windows they have not got a broad or deep enough awareness of the medium in which they are flying. They eventually “get it” – or I should say, the smartest “get it” – and then they move to a higher level of awareness of their experience. They are mastering their
environment. They don’t know they are mastering their environment of course, for that requires a sense of cognition. We, on the other hand, DO have the sense of cognition. However, and this KEY ...

It is when we add Cognition into the equation of Awareness, that we get a sense that our Mind is taking control of our Experience.

And it is from THIS particular moment that we are awakened to move along that other path I mentioned earlier – the path that takes us “elsewhere”.

The Elsewhere of Reality

This, I believe, is the moment we step onto the pathway towards the elsewhere called the  “Outside-In” nature of Reality.

Of course we can still learn an enormous amount when we are on THIS pathway, as witnessed by the vast array of things that we as people can become CLEVER at. Many of us on the “Outside-In” pathway learn how to use our brains and bodies in exceptional ways. We also have insights and “Aha” moments from time to time and perhaps are curious about the difference in their nature compared to our usual Thoughts and Experiences.
Yet the moment we realise there is also the “Inside-Out” nature of Reality, and that this was where and how we all started out, is the moment we start to shift our Awareness and Experience back along that original pathway.
And on this pathway, the more grounded we become in our understanding of it, the less we over-complicate things or get in our own way.

"The Clue of Experience" is the final chapter in my book "The CACTUS Approach - Building Blocks for Invincible Teams."