There Is Experience

There is experience.

And there are experiences.

One happens.

The other we create.

One is undervalued.

The other overused.

One is about life.

The other has been co-opted by marketing speak.

I want to talk about the former – experience.

I was having breakfast with my friend Max Alexander when he shared the following MAXISM with me:

“Experience is something you get right after you need it.”

We were sitting in a typical U.S.-style “Greek” diner that served a special “Spanish”-themed breakfast (changing neighborhoods), eating a traditional “American” hot breakfast of steel-cut (as opposed to plastic cut?) “Irish” oatmeal and ripe cantaloupe – okay, maybe a bit eclectic – drinking endless cups of coffee – bottomless cups, it’s a diner! – and all of this early last Thursday morning, the day of Thanksgiving for all of my U.S. readers.

The topic was, what should we really be thankful for and what are the barriers that keep us from being grateful?  What makes people bitter – what keeps them spinning around negative energy and thoughts and stops them from seeing the good?

Hence the MAXISM.

Max – an accomplished performer – had a kidney transplant a few years ago (his brother – also my friend – was the donor).  The operation was followed by a stroke, and all was followed by a grueling regimen of therapy and rehab.

Clearly nothing in his life had prepared him for the ordeal – no experience could possibly have given him a clue – so what he needed he didn’t learn until after.

And yet – he kept perspective; kept his smile and wit – never got bitter and as he got better only got better – if you catch my drift.

And the MAXISMs are there to help his friends – because the truth is, experience might be too late for any of us as it happens – but share it as learning and it’s there when you need it.

Because here is the final and ultimate truth (at least to me).  Listen:

Even on the highest throne in the world, we are still sitting on our ass.
Michel de Montaigne
 

And there you have it. You never know when you might undergo an experience – none of us is too big or important – that if someone else had taken the time to share theirs, you might be better prepared for.  But even then – it’s your experience and by definition it’s different and too late – so keep perspective – learn – stay positive and then share – who knows what throne your ass might have shared….

What do you think?

P.S.  Look up de Montaigne – he and Max would have been friends.

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