Life Experience Matters

“Maturity does not come with age, sometimes age comes alone.”

The following excerpt is from a graduation speech at Princeton in 1954 from Adlai Stevenson:

“What a man knows at fifty that he did not know at twenty is, for the most part, incommunicable. The laws, the aphorisms, the generalizations, the universal truths, the parables and the old saws—all of the observations about life which can be communicated handily in ready, verbal packages—are as well-known to a man at twenty who has been attentive as to a man at fifty. He has been told them all, he has read them all, and he has probably repeated them all before he graduates from college; but he has not lived them all.

What he knows at fifty that he did not know at twenty boils down to something like this: The knowledge he has acquired with age is not the knowledge of formulas, or forms of words, but of people, places, actions—a knowledge not gained by words but by touch, sight, sound, victories, failures, sleeplessness, devotion, love—the human experiences and emotions of this earth and of oneself and other men; and perhaps, too, a little faith, and a little reverence for things you cannot see.”

We all need to be students of life. The younger we are, the less experience we have,  so we need to borrow experience. We all should be meeting with mentors that are older than us who have lived out the principles we learn about every day. We should be asking them about their battles, their victories, their defeats, and what they learned along the way.

We should read history. Read biographies and autobiographies of great leaders. Gain wisdom from the insights they took away from a lifetime of experiences.

If you’re older, share your experience with others younger than you. You have the potential to make a huge difference in their life!

Get all the life experience you can get, and what you cannot get now, borrow from someone who has been there!



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