Saturday, October 16, 2010

Aligning Our Expectations with Our Experience

“Experience does not err; only your judgments err by expecting from her what is not in her power.”

~Leonardo da Vinci.

A mentor of mine once lauded the power of experience, which is the sort of wisdom that no one can acquire but for hard work and the advancing of the years as they unfold, minute by continuous sewn-together minute.

Experience is memory as we retrieve those long lost fragments of the mind’s recorded data and use it to brace us in our need right now to grace the issues of today.

Getting Beyond Our Capabilities

We do this quite routinely in our hurry to ‘get places’ in life. We strive to be more experienced than we are. Or in other words, we try things for which our experience hasn’t prepared us. At times we must do these things—life requires them of us.

But, most often we can get ourselves into trouble by just expecting too much from ourselves; that which our limited experience hasn’t prepared us for.

The Science of Experience

Experience when analysed, is an incredibly latent thing. It lags slowly behind and we’re continually hurrying it up... well, until we do become ‘experienced’; then we’re not in so much of a hurry, and we may even lament being so ‘experienced’.

As a science, then, experience is the establishment of things learned. Given that many of the things we learn had to be practiced time and again to master, experience is slow to acquire. We forget about it for a while and then all of sudden we reflect gleefully over our acquisition of it.

The Gap Between Experience and Expectation

We see things in life, things that tempt us, and we’re naturally given to covetousness. We want them now. Hidden deep between the crevices of truth in this is the fact of our comparisons with others; at root this is the sin of envy making itself persuasive.

None of us are sacrosanct from envy. We all battle with it.

If it weren’t for envy—which is again manifest in all manner of dwelt-upon comparison—we would not ask too much of our experience by setting our expectations too high.

Contentedness with Current Levels of Experience

There is a difference between asking too much of our experience by going too boldly about life, and expecting opportunities that today are beyond us, and striving to learn and gain more experience at an acceptable rate. The latter is admirable and wise, whilst the former is bending to the world and the envy of the desires.

Peace is only available in the acceptance of our present levels of experience, but in the gentle though persistent hope of increasing our levels of experience over time.

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.

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