Several studies have shown that an educational input provided by experience results in higher learning achievements and retention. By reading this article you will learn how to make the most out of your past and future experiences.
As the old proverb tells us: experience is the best teacher. Certainly it is true to say that at the core of self-development, separate from any methods, systems and processes is one key thing – you. The attitude you take, and the way in which you harness your experience so that it provides a basis for change and better opportunities for the future, is vital. You can make a real difference.
Looking at your own job you need a sound understanding of the way it works and what makes it successful, then you have a reference against which to view your own practice and experience. Doing so must become a habit. You need to:
- Be conscious of what you do, literally task by task, day by day
- Consider – analyse if you like – how particular things go, for instance looking at how you handled a particular project, management meeting or presentation
- Note areas of note. These may be things that went well that you want to repeat and build on or things that could be better and need consideration, experiment or change
- Act on this process, adjusting your future approaches to take lessons into account.
Realistically, of course, you are not going to indulge in lengthy contemplation after every hour of the day, but if you can get into the habit of pausing regularly to consider then this is literally invaluable. A similar approach can be brought to bear on every aspect of your job asking yourself questions like: was that course attendance (or appraisal or meeting) useful, how did I play it and are there ways in which I can make the next such experience work better?
Make experience work for you, effectively accelerate it and you have regular, pertinent learning on tap on an ongoing basis. This strengthens the effect of every other aspect of development to which you are exposed.