Monday, August 11, 2008

Zen | 4 | Experience

We do not learn by experience, but by our capacity for experience


This statement most likely goes against what you have been taught about business. For the most part - "experience" is how one is measured in the professional world. The length and depth of your resume is how you are valued as a professional, and it typically dictates your path. But is that the right way to define and value "experience"?

An Experience can range from something simple like seeing a movie or reading a book - to working at a job for 3 years. Some experience we gain through constant repitition during our daily routine (e.g. Driving a Car, or typing on the Computer). These experiences become second nature and we can perform at a subsconscious level. Other experiences are moments in time, where we are not as effected (e.g. eating at a restaurant). Some experiences we will never forget, and most we forget the minute after they are over.

So do we actually learn from every experience? No. We learn by our capacity for experience.

Let's first look at the definition of capacity

ca·pac·ity (kə pas′i tē)

  1. the ability to contain, absorb, or receive and hold

  2. the amount of space that can be filled; room for holding;

  3. the point at which no more can be contained filled to capacity

  4. the power of receiving and holding knowledge, impressions, etc.; mental ability

When we refer to the capacity for experience, we are going beyond simply the "experience" as an event in time - and focusing on the ability to contain the experience. And even beyond the ability to contain, is the mental ability to accept new experiences. So we are really talking about two aspects of learning - containing experiences and accepting experiences. Only through capacity do we truly learn.

So now that we have clearly defined 'capacity' - how does this relate to being a Zentrepreneur?

The Zentrepreneur must have capacity for experience.

To simply go through the motions of a day, without having capacity for experience will allow you to learn nothing. Although you may have many experiences in a day, you will not learn anything. In order to truly grow as a Zentrepreneur you need to learn each and every day.

Just as we discussed in previous chapters about the importance of being in the NOW, and focusing your energy on your daily routine - the ability to have capacity for experience allows you to grow as a Zentrepreneur. As you learn, you expand your ability to take control over your daily tasks, and thus expand your daily routine.

If you recall from last chapter - we said "A Zentrepreneur focuses their energy on events they control, and accepts that all other events (past and future) are meaningless."

By learning, you are able to control more events and thus expand you capacity for experience. It essentially becomes the fuel for your growth. It becomes a cycle.

The first step in embracing capacity for experience is having an open mind. Try to remove all pre-conditions or pre-notions. Be willing to experience outside what you already know. To truly learn you must embrace the unknown. The greater your capacity, the more you will learn.

Think of it like a glass. If the glass is full of water (low capacity), it will never be able to hold more water, thus never learning anything new. A Zentrepreneur focuses on growing the glass so that is has infinite capacity. Most people accept the glass as a constant, and once it is full, they settle with what they know, and do not bother with the unknown.

To accept the possibility of infinite capacity is not easy. This is why most people are not entrepreneurs and accept that their glass is full, and they become inflexible and "stuck" in their daily lives.

Once you achieve infinite capacity, you will have a sense of confidence and freedom that empowers your abilty to innovate, execute and truly build something great.

Balance this ability to learn, with your focus on the Present... and your daily routine will be highly focused and constantly growing and in flux.

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