Instructions: Read Passage III carefully and answer the questions that follow. Each question carries 3 marks
It is said that experience is the best teacher, but to learn consciously through wisdom may even be a better and more convenient way. To learn by experience is to learn from mistakes. It means you have burnt your fingers and now ‘your eyes are open’. This is a tough, costly and inconvenient way to learn. Rather than leaving our learning to experience, why do we not learn consciously through wisdom? We can learn by consciously going out of our way to acquire knowledge and wisdom rather than leave our learning to chance. Surely, we can learn from mistakes but why wait till when we make mistakes before we learn? We should give more premium to learning by wisdom than by experience.
This will involve one making up ones mind to be decisive in learning. We must decide to learn consciously and not necessarily from negative experiences. The first step is to realize that life is simply the outcomes and outplay of decisions. Our life now is the sum total of our decisions and our future will be determined by our decision of today. If we decide to learn today we are not likely to make mistakes and when we do not make mistakes. Experience need not to be our best teacher.
To avoid making experience our best teacher will take more than a decision. We must couple our decision with a complete and wholehearted devotion. We must be resolved, resolute and resilient in our bid to learn by wisdom and not necessarily by experience. This is crucial because situations and circumstances will want us to make a detour and leave our learning and life to chance. We must therefore be disciplined to remain with our resolve to make a clean break with experience as our best teacher. Discipline in this regard means learning something new everyday by wisdom rather than experience. It means consciously getting better by the day in you chosen field. Discipline will demand taking advantage of every learning opportunity that comes our way. It will mean we must pay the price for learning by wisdom – invest in books, magazines, seminars and other means by which we may become wiser.
It is much easier and cheaper to learn consciously by wisdom than to learn by experience. When we learn by experience, the deed is done and we are just picking up the pieces – learning in regret how to avoid such predicament next time. Consider the child who grasps a burning coal, he has learned the hardway through the painful experience, but his fingers will remain burnt. Thus, the saying, that experience is the best teacher, may not be justifiable after all.
Adapted from Sunday Tribune, July 2007