How Important Is Experience?

What matters is what you do with it.

The Key to Greatness

When I was starting out, I was told that the key to greatness was experience. Now I know that’s not the whole story, because not all encounters are equal. The times when you’ve lost or just got by are not going to be as useful to you as the wins you’ve had along the way.

Bill Belicheck said it best. In a Super Bowl interview the coach of the NFL Champion New England Patriots was asked how important he thought experience was when it came to playing in a game as big as the Super Bowl. He agreed it was important, but he said “I don’t think it’s as important as preparation or how well they play.”

It’s important if it causes them to push themselves and maintain their focus and intensity for the whole game. If these things were true, then yes, it certainly was important.

It’s easy to be distracted if you’re trying something for the first time due to the lack of knowledge on the subject. You might think you’re ready to go, but when you get in the game you realize you’re in over your head. If that experience helps you improve before the next game, then it is valuable.

The Experience Ribbon

In the horse show world, you compete for ribbons. Blue, red and yellow. First, second and third place. When my youngest son started competing, the grooms would ask as he returned to the barn, “What did you get?” He always smiled big and said, “Experience!”

But he learned. He improved. Soon he was bringing back blue ribbons! So, the truth? Experience can be the key to greatness if you use it to get better.

Experience is important if it helps put energy and effort into preparation and the next performance to improve over time.

Comment below and tell us a story when your experience (or lack there of) either helped or hurt you!

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