Practice and Experience

During my lifetime, I have met with people who had certain skills, like reading the weather, or knowing a technical subject inside out, or being able to learn pretty quickly while being thorough. I have admired these people, and wanted to learn what made them tick. The main question was "How is this possible, and what can I learn from these people", and the feeling accompanying this question was always a healthy wonder and awe, not envy or anger.

Moreover, I noticed that these people didn't boast their skills, in any way. A neighbor may make a passing remark about tomorrow's weather, or a friend will casually note a pitfall I may encounter during implementing something. Moreover, things progress exactly the way they noted earlier. This like being among a band of oracles, and both feels awesome and makes you wonder about how this is possible.

As life progressed, and I tried to quench my thirst for learning, a pattern started to emerge. I noticed that I carry a big body of knowledge about a couple of subjects, without trying for it. Interestingly, the dialogues would progress the same. A casual remark about a potential problem followed by a "I didn't think of this" look. These occurrences surprised me, generating more questions about the process, converting main question to "How I did this?"

The question prompted me to observe myself more intently and closely.

This observation lead me to two revelations about the process. i.e. How practice and experience works, and how adding time to these changes things.

The first revelation was how practice and experience work in tandem. It's always said that "practice makes perfect", and to perfect ourselves, we practice. Practice is irreplaceable and invaluable all in itself. It sharpens the skill and the mind, reducing the mental cost of the skill while increasing the quality of the result. However, it's the experience you gain adds the subtle and impeccable parts to your knowledge and how you handle things. The edge cases, possible problems, the smell of how things are going can't be obtained without experience. A textbook, a mentor, or a course may give you a direction or a simple sense, but sharpening that is up to you and it's only possible with the experience you get over time. Because, even if you practice deliberately, you sharpen what you know. What you don't know can't be practiced.

However, experience does not make you better at that instant. I t needs time. Time is required to let the experience sink in, get introduced into your practice, and get considered during the next real-world scenario requires that knowledge. When you take that step, and get experience on top of the existing one, because you need to go step by step, the knowledge will start to accumulate.

This accumulation is slow and not recognizable, but when you need to tap into that knowledge, it'll show itself.

Until next time,

Be kind.