Your Own Experiences Are the Best Form of Learning

The best learning is the one you achieve through your own experiences. You don't learn as well from the warnings of others.
Your Own Experiences Are the Best Form of Learning
Sergio De Dios González

Written and verified by the psychologist Sergio De Dios González.

Last update: 06 February, 2022

The best form of learning comes from your own experiences. Otherwise, it’s not really your own learning, but that of other people. Indeed, it’s really only through your own experiences and the acceptance of your mistakes and failures, that you’re able to come to your own conclusions and move forward.

Learning means moving forward and growing, without anything or anyone stopping you. It means overcoming your difficulties, obstacles, and failures and reflecting on them. Living is experiencing. It means being curious and is all a part of being human.

You aren’t born wise

We could say that life is a path of learning. You have to live it for yourself. In fact, you’ll never really learn through the experience of others, despite their advice, insistence, and educational guidance.

From birth, you depend on adults to survive. However, instinctively and impulsively you seek to have your own experiences in order to learn, hence grow. In this way, there’s a personal and unique element to your development as an individual.

“Experience is something you don’t get until just after you need it.”

-Sir Laurence Olivier-

A boy learning from his own experiences.

Meaningful learning and discovery learning

Discovery learning is one that develops by discovering the world for yourself and is always based on your own experience. On the other hand, meaningful learning is one that you acquire on the basis of knowledge you’ve already acquired. With this kind of learning, the new takes on meaning when it’s related to the knowledge that you already have.

For this reason, to learn, you have to explore, discover, fail and succeed. On many occasions, you’ll learn by trial and error until you find the path to success. Furthermore, from a very young age, you’ve learned more from your own experiences than from adult advice.

This is because, by living your own experience, you internalize it in a meaningful and profound way. Although this takes more time and effort, without a doubt, you’ll keep it with you for a lifetime. That’s because most of these learnings will remain in your memory along with their respective emotional imprint.

“One thorn of experience is worth a whole wilderness of warning.”

-James Russell Lowell-

You have the right to be wrong

It’s important to accept that you’ll certainly make mistakes and fail. However, it’s the only way to move forward and get where you want to be. You have the right to make mistakes because you’re not perfect. This isn’t a failure, but part of life’s learning.

If you want to learn, evolve, and improve yourself, undoubtedly, you’ll sometimes fail. Nevertheless, getting up and moving on makes you stronger, braver, and wiser. It gives you a number of reasons to feel proud.

“I haven’t failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” 

-Thomas Alva Edison-

The learning path

If you want to go further and venture down one of the paths that life has presented you with, you must make decisions and assess the results. On some occasions, they’ll be successful and on others not. Despite this fact, the best path to take is always your experience and learning. If you don’t walk, you get stuck and you don’t evolve.

Blaming yourself for having failed means you’re not accepting the fact that you’re human. Hence, you lose the opportunity to continue learning and moving forward. In fact, it could be said that the more you make mistakes, the more you’re living.

“Life is about learning, when you stop learning, you die.”

-Tom Clancy-

Arrow signs in two directions

The experience of the years

The more years that pass, the more you collect lived experiences and learning. If you didn’t, those years would be empty. You’d only really be able to say that you passed through them but you didn’t get out of them all that you could.

Therefore, the passing years are a great opportunity to become more and more aware of what you want and how to achieve it. To do this, in addition to accumulating years, you’ll also accumulate learning experiences, some that’ll fail and others that’ll succeed.

Although it hurts to fall, getting up strengthens you

Learning means strengthening yourself after failures, getting up after falling, and recovering even when your mistakes have hurt you. Life is growth, a way forward, and, therefore, a strengthening. Thus, the best way to achieve it is by living different and multiple experiences of your own, without fear of the results, with a view to growing, advancing, and moving forward.

Failing is inevitable and you do it from a young age. For example, when you want to learn to walk, ride a bicycle, skate, etc. It’s inevitable to fail when you want to move forward, achieve your goals, go further, or change something that doesn’t make you happy. As a matter of fact, it’s wonderful to learn and discover your capabilities.

They told me that I couldn’t go up the mountain, I greeted them from the summit

You often allow yourself to be influenced by the opinion of others. For instance, in your attempts to achieve your own successes you hear phrases like: “I don’t think you’ll be able to do it”, “It’s really difficult. Are you sure?”. These types of comments, although they’re often made affectionately, condition you and make you doubt your own abilities.

“They told me that I’d never be able to climb to the top of the mountain. I greeted them from the summit.”

In most cases, the people who advise you do so from their own point of view. They reflect back to you what they think they wouldn’t be able to do. Therefore, they think you won’t be able to do it either. You only have to hear the famous phrase “If I were you…” to know how true this is. Nevertheless, at the end of the day, we must all walk our own path and stumble as many times as necessary.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.