Does Experience Always Lead to Wisdom?

Everyday, each of us makes countless decisions.  Whether at home, work, or even the store, we are perpetually making choices.  Some decisions are easy and of little consequence.  Others can significantly impact your future. Regardless, we’d all like to think we are making rational, well informed choices. Yet, how do you really know if your choices are good ones?

Intellect and instinct are great places to start.  Gathering information can further bring an impending choice into focus.   More importantly, we tend to rely on experience to shape our decisions.  The recent past is always a good indicator of future events, right?  …or does it?

Does past experience always equate to wisdom?

black swan grzegorzmielczarek

Let’s digress for a moment…   A “black swan” is an occurrence that appears to be totally random.  Here’s the key though: it seems totally random to an observer.  For example, in   Bertrand Russell’s, The Problems of Philosophy, he describes the experience of a chicken.  A chicken is fed every day, so it wakes up each morning expecting a comfortable day with food.  This reality works quite well for the chicken until the day it is slaughtered.  For the chicken, that day is a terrible random day. If only the chicken could consider game theory payoffs.  It wouldn’t have been perceived as such a random event!

So, the take away message is this: experience can sometimes bias our decisions negatively.  How often has something really awful happened out of the blue? Yet, in hindsight, all the “signs” were there.

How does this impact strategic planning?  Is a high experienced team really the best option?  A rookie or an unexpected candidate that doesn’t fit the usual mold just might be the key to avoiding a black swan.

What do you think?  Don’t be a chicken…leave a comment.

It’s your move.  Make it a great one!



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