So recently I watched a promotional video for a business where one of their selling points was "over 100 years of ... experience".
Now I know for a fact this business has not been around for a century; nor has the market for such a business.
My next series of questions then would be concerning the mathematics of this conclusion and where the line would be drawn.
What qualifies as a year of experience? Can I round up? Do I add up the collective experience of my employees? If I am somebody's student, can I compile their years of experience onto my own since I learned from their mistakes? If I am a coach, do I only count my years of coaching or can I add my years of training/competition? If I am an athlete/performer, does the timer start the first day I set foot into the gym or only when I start competing or performing on a proper level? If I inherited a trade from my family, can I add that that ancestral experience onto my own number?
What if I take time off of my trade; do I have to stop the counter or can I keep it going? If I learned part of my trade as a child, does that count since children follow a different learning process compared to adults?
Can achieving a certain level act as a multiplier?
Hope you can see why I would be suspicious of anyone who lists their years of experience as a selling point; it's too easy to manipulate the math. It's the small dogs that bark the loudest.
I think some things are better left unsaid, and experience should speak for itself. If your eye is sharp enough, you can tell someone's experience through their attention to the finer details.
What does experience even mean?
I don't believe that doing something for x number of years necessarily constitutes that many years of experience. I also don't believe that time spent learning a skill as a child equals the amount of time of learning the same skill as an adult. Continuing, I don't believe being coached and strictly following someone else's process of equal to the experience of following your own process. Learning a trade for the enjoyment of learning it versus having to do it to make a living are also unequal in my eyes(dependent on some factors). I also think years of experience teaching and being a student don't hold the same value.
Experience is about trying things, then reaping the rewards or dealing with the consequences and making the necessary adjustments.
Making mistakes is massively important, but even more so is learning lessons from those mistakes.
Years of repetition are not equal to years of experience.
Basically, unless you are continuously modifying, changing, and hopefully evolving I don't believe that years of action are equal to years of experience and should not be presented as such.
Of course I'll have to call myself out as well, trying to be as objective as possible(feel free to skip if you don't care about my personal history):
-As an athlete, I did play some sports and ran around outside as a kid but wasn't super active. I would start my timer probably around age 16-17 when I started to enjoy and care a bit more about performance, health, and fitness. I'll say this timer hasn't really stopped since I have continued to stay active; but I wouldn't count any of my pursuits as a kid into this number.
-As a teacher I would say my journey started at around 18/19 years old when I attempted to take over the unofficial capoeira club at my university because there was noone else at the time.
However, I can make several distinctions in here; first when I taught just to try to build a community for my own personal enjoyment; second when I taught for work mainly coaching kids gymnastics and other classes; third when I transitioned into working for myself doing workshops and seminar around the world for adults.
Also I can note that I took breaks during times that I had other non-teaching related jobs.I can also say that during my time teaching, I constantly experiment with different methods to continue to try to understand more about the learning process itself.
-As a performer I would probably start my timer also around 18 years old, my first "proper" performance with a real audience I can remember was being part of a capoeira piece for a show run by the school of dance at my university. During university we did some performances and then I became a cheerleader as well; which meant during football or basketball games there was an audience of several thousand people.
Moving to Las Vegas gave me a lot more opportunity to develop myself as a performer and be a part of some amazing shows, but still there was never a time when I was performing on a regular basis.
Even now, I would love to continue to develop myself more in this aspect but teaching all the time gets in the way of that. Not that I'm complaining as I love teaching and it's a kind of performance on its own; but I often get the question when I am teaching abroad for weeks at a time ""are you performing anywhere?" The answer is not really because that requires me to be in town and available.
So in short, I have been performing for years but many breaks and I still think I have a lot to work on in this aspect.
-As a businessman... my weakness. I would start my timer when I quit my regular job and started working for myself full-time. Maybe a little bit of freelance work beforehand but this was the main shift.
I was very naive when I begin this enterprise and this is the area where I learned some of my harshest lessons on trust and the general nature of some people. I've dealt with grown millionaires who displayed the maturity of children in the playground. I've dealt with people who can talk all day about their grandiose plans but don't deliver; likewise with promises.
Though to not stay on a negative note I have also met some amazing people that I have been able to base some of my own decisions and protocols off of.
I think I have managed to do ok since I've been completely on my own in this regard and have seen reasonable growth without sacrificing my ideals and integrity.
Constant lessons being learned here; and though I am lucky to enjoy what I do for a living the business end is the least enjoyable part.
-As a student? Never stop learning.
I couldn't count the number of people I have learned from or been inspired by whether it was directly or indirectly. I am grateful to them all for the positive and negative lessons.
I've definitely had periods of time where I stagnated in my learning process or let my ego take its hold, but I am doing my best to shed all that and try to see the lesson and learning experience in everything.
Hopefully you have enjoyed reading my rant on years of experience as well as a little bit of my own personal history.
Yuri Dmitrievich Marmerstein
Over one million years collective multiplied athletic, business, ancestral, ethereal, cosmic, spiritual, coaching, teaching, moving, learning and existing Experience