Many of your most valuable skills, pieces of knowledge, and principles are things you take for granted. Things you’ve learned at some point in your life, but know to be true in such a fundamental way that you don’t often think of them. They are ways of being and doing that just seem obvious to you. They are lessons you’ve incorporated into your core.
Lessons that you learn to the core do not come from the classroom, they are hard earned from experience. The theory you can learn in a classroom is powerful, but only when you can relate it to real experiences. When it is revelatory, not introductory. When it gives you that “ahhh that makes sense” feeling of conscious knowledge putting words to memories, experiences, and feelings.
Experience is so valuable because it helps us learn deep lessons, but that very feature is why it is often overlooked and undervalued by learners.
Leaving a school environment, we are accustomed to the quick hits that come from shallow learning, but often lack the long-term perspective to grit our teeth and put in the work that is required to learn deep lessons.
This is not because of laziness or a lack of work ethic, but it is a lack of perspective and understanding in the value gained from deep experiential learning.
Early in a career, if you don’t consciously bring attention to it, you will likely not understand the value of what you’re learning until you move into a different context where people don’t take the same lessons for granted.
You may not learn what you’ve learned until you’ve stopped learning it and moved into a position where no one takes those lessons for granted.
But, if you aren’t consciously putting attention on the hard and soft skills you are learning in your day to day life, it is easy to lose sight of the value you get from your work. To fall into a funk, stop learning, and lose your opportunity.
Instead of going that route, make it a habit to invest some time daily, weekly, or monthly in reflection on the things you are learning. Don’t overlook the small things, like how to talk to coworkers, how to use slack on a remote team, how to wake up and get to work at the same time every day, how to manage your energy to be productive every day, etc.
Understanding and appreciating the valuable lessons that you get from your experience will not only make that experience more enjoyable, but it will guide you on the path to learning bigger and better things and becoming a more valuable human being.