Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted

A while back we started talking about the value of experience and how Dudebro Nation’s lack of experience is a big part of the reason they fell for Obama’s “experience is overrated” schtick.

There are two basic kinds of experience: pleasant and unpleasant work experience and life experience.

Work experience is self-explanatory – it’s what you learn on the job. That is the kind of learning that often runs up against the law of diminishing returns. It is not unusual to discover that an employee with ten years experience actually has one year’s experience repeated ten times.

Life experience is a much broader category of learning that doesn’t end until you do. Life experience doesn’t make you smarter and it won’t necessarily make you wiser either.

Book learning is important, but it’s not the same thing as experience. You need both. When I was in the Army every summer we would get a new crop of second lieutenants. These guys came straight from West Point or ROTC with a bunch of book learning and no experience.

They were eager to make a good impression – too eager. They always got handed the crap jobs like Mess Hall Officer and they would try to improve stuff by changing procedures. Of course whatever they were trying to improve was what the last guy set up.

This may surprise you but I’ve had people telling me I was smart all my life. (Sometimes they added the word “ass”) But being smart is kinda like being a naturally fast runner. It’s a talent you’re born with, but it doesn’t do much for you if you don’t use it.

Here are a few things my life experience has taught me about being smart:

Being smart doesn’t always make life easier, especially when the dumb kid is a lot bigger and meaner than you are.

No matter how much smarter you are than other people, they don’t appreciate you telling them what to do. This is especially true if you do so in a condescending or patronizing manner.

No matter how smart you are, you don’t know everything.

Being smart is not a guarantee of or a substitute for a likeable personality.

If you want to get laid a likeable personality is mandatory. It’s way more important than money, looks or brains.

Being smart will not magically make you rich. But hard work will usually keep you in groceries.

It’s better to be lucky than smart.

Smart kids are really aggravating. (I have three of them)

Last but not least: Smart people still do dumb things.

One thing life experience has taught me is that things aren’t as simple and easy as I used to think when I was young. As I began to realize that everything in life is complex and intertwined with other things, I also realized that every solution creates new problems and some problems don’t have solutions.

Experience has taught me that when the shit is about to hit the fan, move away from the fan.

I have learned that if you stay in a bad job or bad relationship long enough, it will get worse.

I have learned that children are not malleable pieces of clay. They are human beings and are born with their own unique personalities. I learned that children don’t read those books on how to raise perfect children. I also learned that the so-called experts who write those books never met my kids.

Experience has taught me that if you don’t follow the crowds you’ll avoid lines and traffic jams and parking is easier to find.

I have learned that folk wisdom (like “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” and “If it sounds too good to be true it probably is”) doesn’t always work, but it makes really good default policy.

Getting back to the original topic (Dudebro Nation falling for Obama’s shtick) I think one of the reasons many of us didn’t fall for it was we knew it wouldn’t be that easy to change the world. It’s not that we didn’t share the ideals, we’ve just lived long enough to learn the difference between shit and Shinola.

So, what has life experience taught you?

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40 Responses to Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted

  1. Dario says:

    Great post Myiq. I’d like to add another:
    Being smart doesn’t make one wise, but being smart and wise is the foundation of greatness.

  2. Pips says:

    Just want to mention that Captain Sullenberger, seen in the picture, is the most dignified, even humble, person I have ever “met” on tv. He’s also a person that quite obviously neither seeks, needs or wants fame, fawning and fortune … which could be why he and people like him – unfortunately – are rare in politics?

    • myiq2xu says:

      He must have done thousands of take-offs in his career. Only one of them involved a catastrophic engine failure. He might have practiced something like that in a simulator but that’s still not the same as the real thing. He didn’t have time to think, check the manuals or ask for advice.

      He reacted quickly and did exactly the right thing. He had a jet airplane and he was over a metropolitan area – he immediately went for the only place he could land without endangering lives on the ground.

      When the passengers were rescued some didn’t even have wet feet.

      He is the perfect example of why experience matters.

  3. WMCB says:

    One thing life experience has taught me is that things aren’t as simple and easy as I used to think when I was young. As I began to realize that everything in life is complex and intertwined with other things, I also realized that every solution creates new problems and some problems don’t have solutions.

    This. And I would add that even of the things that have solutions of some kind, they aren’t all amenable to a top-down, govt imposed solution, without making more of a mess. SOME ARE amenable to that. Some aren’t. But at the very least we need to be honest about the pros and cons of every single policy, because ALL of them have both pros and cons.

    I am not a One-True-Way groupie, whether it be childrearing, or politics, or the poor, or economics, or religion, or anything. Life is just flat not that simple, and neither are nations.

    Obama was a One True Way messianic candidate. And he turned my stomach from the beginning.

  4. ralphb says:

    Life experience has taught me that it’s very important to know what you don’t know.

    I believe that’s one of the differences between a lot of us and the Obots.

    • Lola-at-Large says:

      Yeah, intellectual curiosity and all that…

      • myiq2xu says:

        It’s not just that – we all have areas of expertise and areas of ignorance. You need to know when you’re in over your head and need to seek advice.

        And then you can’t be too stubborn to take it.

        • votermom says:

          Yes, frequently smart people are too invested in their self-image of being smart to be open to the possibility of their being wrong.

          That’s where that metaphor about “you can’t fill a full cup” comes from. Learning requires a certain humility.

    • angienc says:

      ἓν οἶδα ὅτι οὐδὲν οἶδα hèn oîda hóti oudèn oîda –Ancient Greek, translates as: “I know that I know nothing.”

      Socrates said that. So who the fuck does Obama & his minions think they are? Every time I hear any of them droning on about how super awesome Teh Precious is, or when Teh Precious himself speaks, I think of Aristophanes: Youth ages, immaturity is outgrown, ignorance can be educated, drunkenness sobered, but stupid lasts forever.

  5. Lola-at-Large says:

    Ha! Great title on a great post. Reminds me of the old John Lennon quote: Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.

    • myiq2xu says:

      I use to date a woman who was so busy planning for the future she couldn’t enjoy the present.

      Shit happens, some of us won’t be around as long as we’d like. You gotta start checking off things on your bucket list now.

  6. DeniseVB says:

    Looking at the life of Obama, his education, his accomplishments and it points to an underachiever. How did he get elected as President?

    To compare, Sarah Palin’s life, education and resume, and her intellectual couriosity points to an overachiever.

    Who would you hire to run your company?

    Obama’s that guy who sits around waiting for the High Management job while collecting unemployment.

    Sarah’s the one who works multiple jobs at lower levels to gain the experience and help support her family.

    MLK was right, content of character……

  7. yttik says:

    Good post. Obama sure could have used this one: “No matter how much smarter you are than other people, they don’t appreciate you telling them what to do.” Of course he’s sure not smarter than anybody else, he just thinks he is.

    One quote I like comes from some corny vampire show. It goes something like this, “If there’s one thing I’ve learned in 85 years, it’s that what you want, doesn’t really matter. You can want to get from here to there, you can want to be on time..You can want all of these things, but if the universe wants something different, you can run, but you can’t hide.”

    • myiq2xu says:

      Obama is fairly smart in the book learning sense. He’s no genius though.

      You gotta have a few working brain cells to get through Hah-vahd Law School. I didn’t go to one of them fancy schools but it was still the hardest thing I ever did – way harder than college.

      But when you reach a certain level, EVERYBODY is smarter than the average bear.

      I went to school with a guy who was a really good baseball player. He won all kinds of awards for playing ball starting in junior high – best in district, best in conference, MVP, etc, etc. After high school he started playing pro ball. He made it as far as AAA (one step below the majors) but that was it. I ran into him after he stopped playing and asked him why he never made the big leagues. He said when he reached AAA every guy on the team had been best in district, best in conference, MVP, etc, etc.

      Obama is an exception to the Peter Principle – he BS’ed his way a couple levels beyond his level of incompetence. But he’s at a level where you can’t get away with BSing – he’s swimming with the sharks and he’s Charlie the Tuna. If he wasn’t a puppet for TPTB he’d be in even worse shape because they’ve been propping him up.

    • 1539days says:

      Watch what you say about “Moonlight.”

  8. WMCB says:

    The media is beyond fluffing now – they are just flat out lying.

    ABC radio news now reporting that Obama is facing down those bad republicans, and “refusing to raise the debt ceiling unless he gets spending cuts.”

    No lie – that is what they said. It’s insanity.

  9. ralphb says:

    Hot Air: Cut, Cap, & Balance gets 66% approval in CNN poll

    But you have to read 13 paragraphs into the story to find that out.

    Er, yeah. In other words, a consensus exists across all political lines that the CCB/BBA approach would be a good idea. When one scrolls down to the crosstab sections of the raw data, the consensus becomes very, very clear. The CCB/BBA approach wins majorities in every single demographic — including self-described liberals. Sixty-three percent of Democrats back the House bill. The least supportive age demographic is 50-64YOs at 62/37; the least supportive regional demographic is the Midwest at 61/39. Even those who express opposition to the Tea Party supports it 53/47.

    CNN’s takeaway is that a default could create a problem for the Republican party. Like ABC, they are just covering for Dick.

  10. WMCB says:

    I have been saying for ages that a LOT of real conservatives (as opposed to the crony old-boys GOP) are actually on our side regarding the separation of Corp and State.

    From a conservative Townhall columnist:

    One of the ongoing problems, the panelists argued, is that a symbiotic relationship exists between big government and big corporations that is detrimental to the nation. The federal government – which has grown dramatically in recent years – continues to impose regulations that levy additional costs on small businesses. These policies make it essentially impossible for small business owners to compete and stay solvent. By eliminating competition and obstructing the free market, the government has put a stranglehold on average Americans while allowing corporations to grow larger. The lemonade stand shutdown in Georgia is only the most recent example.

    One of the ramifications of this ongoing trend is that some corporations have grown to the point where they are too big to fail. Multinational corporations that now operate inside the U.S. – as argued by the Washington Examiner’s senior political columnist Tim Carney – have more power, resources and even aircraft than the United States. This is a serious concern because mega-businesses with their own agenda employ thousands of Americans and have become permanent and influential fixtures in the American political landscape. This threatens not only our economic security but our way of republican governance.

    One remedy proposed by Bruce Fein – current chair of the American Freedom Agenda – is to restore corporations to a reasonable size. By capping the size of companies to a certain percentage of the marketplace – multinational conglomerates will have less political clout and influence over elected officials.


    • ralphb says:

      Glad to hear from the non-establishment GOP. I liked Bruce Fein when he was saying Bush should be impeached and I guess I still do.

    • ralphb says:

      It is well known that every generation dating back to the founding fathers has dealt with this divisive issue. While no broadly agreed upon solution exists, addressing government-corporate collusion in the United States is one way to protect individuals and ensure prosperity in the years ahead.

      Very nicely put.

  11. ralphb says:

    Wisconsin reports a gain of 12,900 private-sector jobs in June

    From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel this time.

    Wisconsin bucked a lackluster national trend in June and added an estimated 12,900 private-sector jobs from May to June, representing the largest single-month gain of private sector jobs since September 2003.

    Hailing “incredibly good news,” Gov. Scott Walker took the unusual step of traveling to Milwaukee to present the state’s latest monthly unemployment report in person. Some of the good news stems from the policies of his 6-month-old Republican administration, he said, but added that the overall business climate or “motivation” was also a factor that worked in the economy’s favor.

    Citing the latest data, which Wisconsin receives from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Walker noted that Wisconsin effectively created half of the net new jobs in the nation last month, which was an abysmal month for national job creation.

    Total net new jobs in Wisconsin last month rose 9,500 because a continued decline in government employment offset some of the gains of the private-sector job creation. That compares to an equivalent national figure of 18,000, which derives from net new U.S. private-sector growth of 57,000 jobs minus the drop of 39,000 in government payrolls.

    Still looks like Walker’s doing pretty good, though I’m sure liberals will come up with some reason this couldn’t have anything to do with state policies.

  12. ralphb says:

    Blame it on Old Glory

    I still think taxpayers are paying for these studies.

    A new study claims a single exposure to the American flag — even among Democratic participants — shifts support toward Republican beliefs, attitudes and voting behavior.

    The authors from the University of Chicago, Cornell and Hebrew University found that participants’ Republican voting intentions increased despite their overwhelming belief that exposure to the flag would not influence their behavior. Some of the effects even lasted eight months after the flag exposure, according to the study.

    It’s a study that is similar to another recent Harvard study we told you about, here in the Grapevine, that found kids who attended at least one Fourth of July event, parade for example, ended up leaning Republican later in life.

    • 1539days says:

      You know, if they approached this from a standpoint like “playing video games increases your hand-eye cordination,” maybe I wouldn’t be so annoyed by it. Instead, Harvard is pushing this meme that patriotism is corrupting, like one joint turns you into a degenerate. Maybe they need to look into why the flag seems to be kryptonite for these theoretical Democrats.

      • ralphb says:

        If one took it seriously at all, that is what they would research next. But I doubt they’d like what they learned in any case.

    • yttik says:

      “Some of the effects even lasted eight months after the flag exposure, according to the study.”

      I’m curious, how do you go 8 months without seeing a flag?

    • Harvard study we told you about, here in the Grapevine, that found kids who attended at least one Fourth of July event, parade for example, ended up leaning Republican later in life.

      Later life, hm. So what they probably did was take a bunch of people and ask them whether they ever attended a Fourth of July event back when they were kids, and how they vote now.

      Like, having parents who would take them and living in a town that had one, etc etc, wouldn’t influence the kid toward Repulicanism even if he’d stayed home sick on the Fourth.

  13. Jadzia says:

    I think life experience has taught me that I shouldn’t have bothered with all that edumacation and ridiculously hard work that supposedly would pay off. (Or, to quote Roseanne, “Middle class was nice while it lasted.”)

    And that a job will never love you back.

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