Thursday 12 January 2012

Experience is great! But it's a double-edged sword too

Our mind or human brain is a very interesting.

From our interactions with the outside world, we do play a part in the wiring of our human brain? Awesome!

Connecting all the brain cells are neuron pathways. When we repeat a task, a behaviour, or a habit, these neuron pathways get strengthen each time.

In layman's speak, the more we do, the more we can do it "with our eyes closed".  

Can you remember the first time you tried cooking following the recipes from a cookbook?

Didn't we follow the written instructions to a tee? Instruction to add 5 ml and we really measure 5 ml exactly?

What happens when we have cooked the same dish several times? 5 ml becomes a dash, a pinch, a sprinkle - all according to our personal taste  ;)

After several years investing/trading in the markets, do you still see a difference between P/E 12 versus P/E 12.7? Or technical support level 2600 versus 2630?

When newbies are busy measuring, analysing, and maybe arguing with themselves, you would have already come to a quick assessment of the situation and acted.

You don't need to have all the information to fit into nice cookie-cutters.

That's the wonderful feeling that comes from: Been there; done that.

Warning! Experience comes from action. Not passive listening, reading, reflection (that's talking to me too!), dreaming, fantasizing, etc.

Can you see why motivational seminars fail to reap the growth you’d hoped for, or why discussion groups get lost in the lack of progress you find at work?

Change comes to the human brain with action, and passion for further change follows in a step-by-step fashion.

I'm sure we have relatives (and I am one of them) who have great passion to change for the better - be it stop smoking, stop gambling, stop womanizing, stop overeating, stop overspending so much, start a business, learn a new skill, etc. How many have acted on their passion?

I eat salt more than you eat rice 

I've never liked it when seniors "pull rank" on me based on their extensive experience.

Exerience is great as we can cut-to-the-chase and zero-in onto the critical make or break decision making points. However, this works only if "this time it's the same".

If we do not have the self-awareness to recognise a paradigm shift - or this time it's different - we may fall into the mental trap of using yesterday's solutions to solve today's problems.

It's our neuron pathways again. We all prefer to use the established broadband pathways and not the less frequently used 56K dial-up pathways ;)

That is why I like to keep an open mind to listen to the "crazy and sometimes far out" ideas of the youth. Never mind often I feel like saying: "Are you sure that will work?"

But once in a while, I will recognise my folly and do a mental sommersault and re-calibrate.

You may want to read my post celebrating youth as a counter balance: Youth - your strength is you don't know what cannot be done!

Confused? That's the fun part of living in shades of grey!


  1. hey, you are the one that put a rank on me that i never wanted! senior la, qian bei la...

    haha right?

  2. mostly i agree but experience comes from action, and action also comes from your experiences.

    when you try new things or advanture, it is also your experience that tell you so. otherwise you are gonna be bore or missing something or whatever.

  3. oh and please don't call me senior or super trader, i can't afford it. just treat me as a fellow blogger, please?

  4. Coconut,

    Senior and qian bei are terms of endearment and respect. I am a martial arts films fan. I called you "senior" as in "sir xiong" in martial arts films ;)

    Just like I don't want to be called uncle, from now on, I shall address you as Coconut :)

    Just don't later on say I no big no small.

    "Pull rank" for me is not about the salutations. It's about giving others less experienced who have different viewpoints a chance to express first.

    Eh, I don't recall calling you super trader. You anyhow add titles to yourself! A freudian slip?


  5. you make my head swile so big that i begins to think i'm super trader, ya the term super trader i read from some other site haha.

    but super or stupid, it makes no different to me.

  6. Coconut,

    I love you just the same ;)

    As a fellow pugilist; don't get dong fang bu bai on me.

    You the best!

  7. coconut is just fine. you remember my HK friend call me bo xxx? why i censor? very er..

    but don't worry, among us he actually got not 1 but 2 nicks. the worst you can immagin, really!

    but now we don't use them anymore cos of our kids.

  8. Coconut,

    I guessed as much ;)

    It's fun with nicks.

    My old childhood neibourhood friends will call me by one nick - they've no clue I am called Jared!

    My NS friends will call me by my surname.

    Now in cyberspace, people will call me SMOL ;)

  9. oh? ours really nasty, absolutely no shame, even in front of our wives or GF.

    somehow we discover the girls are actually er..

  10. Hi Jared

    In life, there is a trade-off between youth and experience. It is true the grey/white hairs on our head are "earned" from the experiences we've gone through both good and bad.

    The key to action is to have a open mind that connects the dots across different domains or disciplines.

    I recall an ex-boss who told me that there is a difference between having 10 years of varied experience vs 1 year x 10 repeated cycles of the same experience.

    Partly because of that and my own varied experience, I realise it's important to be good at some things for core competencies and for our rice bowl but also to be able to do a lot of different things/skills e.g. learn new language, pick up new skills in related but not the same skillset as core competencies. :-)

    Be well and prosper.

  11. Aloha Panzer!

    "there is a difference between having 10 years of varied experience vs 1 year x 10 repeated cycles of the same experience."

    Hey! I used that statement on my colleagues too! I encourage them to go for horizontal job rotations as working life is not all about moving "upwards".

    Even if no pay-rise, a multi-tricks pony is better than a 1 trick pony!

    Yup, some new skillsets are great for fun or flirting - and that's good enough for me :)


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