“With the advancement of the information age, the commodity of experience is overvalued.”
The reason for this post and my decision to bring back the blog from retirement came from a discussion I had at a wedding this past weekend with friends. A close friend of mine and his wife were discussing the fact that my friend’s wife was beginning to teach a class at the college we all attended. My friend mentioned that his wife was nervous because she was only 28 and preparing to step up in front of a classroom of students not much younger than her (she had nothing to be nervous about because she is extremely intelligent and hard working). Never the less, it is a natural and humble thing to be nervous.
I immediately responded with an anecdote of some of my experiences as a platoon commander. I stepped up in front of a platoon of Marines at the age of 26 and many of them were between the age of 18-22. Some of them were far older than me. Some of them were combat hardened veterans who had been a part of some very serious conflict far off lands. Stepping up in front of them and giving orders can be a nerve wracking task. Many of these young men were total alpha types who were willing to tactfully challenge anyone, especially their new green eyed lieutenant.
If anyone ever asked me how much combat I had been to, in a manner that accused me of lacking experience, my response was always as follows. Napoleon had a mule with him that he brought to every battle he ever went to. That mule has been to more combat than both of us, but he doesn’t know more about tactics than I do. I don’t bring this story up to beat my chest or to claim that I am some tactical genius who knows more about battle than anyone else on the planet. To claim this would demonstrate my naïveté. Ironically enough I never ended up going to combat which I do consider a blessing although some of my peers disagree.
I bring this up to demonstrate the point that I always found to be extremely helpful in life. With the advancement of the information age, the commodity of experience is overvalued. We live in an era where the information released by experts is at our fingertips at almost every moment of the day. Name a skill you desire to obtain or develop and the odds are someone is in the middle of developing a course to teach it to you. This instant access to information undervalues the expertise of the very individuals providing instruction on said skill-set Additionally we have learned that data can provide the majority of information we need and many times the self proclaimed experiential guru’s are incorrect in comparison (Read “The Undoing Project” to learn about exceptions to this rule). Experience is a benefit and a privilege; and every guru started out as a novice. Yet, they had the basic skill set and work ethic to hone their craft. The information era shortens the distance in the transition between novice and guru.
Everything mentioned above is the reason for bringing back the blog and all of the other exciting things we have lined up for this website. I have been fortunate enough in my experiences as Marine Infantry Officer to grow and develop certain skills that some people have not had the privilege to develop yet. It would be a disservice for me to keep those experiences to myself. Some people will benefit from the experiences and skills that I share. Others won’t learn anything new and realize this site isn’t for them. If this site can be the vehicle I use to empower my audience to put an extremely high value on developing into better humans than I have accomplished my goals.
I would like to close by humbly adding, there are many men who know far more than I do about combat. It is my experience that those who have seen the worst of it, generally don’t accuse those who haven’t been there of lacking the skill set to succeed when they arrive.
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