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How Learning from Experience Shapes our Lives

By Arinze Ude


Experience, they say, is the best teacher. The things we go through everyday influence the way we think and behave. Sometimes, what you read or hear about people’s experiences isn’t enough; you need to have a first-hand experience to grasp what the thing is all about.

That is why I don’t believe in success books, relationship books, motivational books and others. I see them as a bunch of hokum. I know some of you are already nodding or shaking your head in agreement or disagreement as the case may be.

Let me use the relationship (marriage) books for instance, these writers paint a picture based on the experiences they have had; a wise man once told me that you can’t write a book on marriage because our experiences differ, and I couldn’t agree more.

Some people, who write about the success of their relationships, are actually unhappy but paint a Cinderella picture to their readers who end up believing every relationship is like that. The fact remains that no relationship is guaranteed a smooth road and people must fight in a relationship. These fights are actually “the rate-limiting steps” that either strengthen the bond between friends/lovers or make them enemies for the rest of their lives.

However, our experiences can leave an indelible imprint in our head/mind, thus changing our perception about things and life in general. That’s why we do forgive but rarely forget. Our day-to-day experiences shape us and we try to re-adjust to ensure such scenarios do or don’t repeat themselves depending on how they tasted.

Let me use this illustration: certain anti-malarial drugs have been used in treatment and prevention of malaria but the plasmodium (causative organism of malaria) has been found to have developed a resistance to some of these drugs such as chloroquine. Once the parasite gets used to the administered drug, it blocks and neutralizes the effect of the drug. The same applies to our day-to-day activities; a bad experience makes us hard-bitten and helps us create a resistance to hard things life throws at us.

That player or ‘playeress’ out there wasn’t always that way; most times he or she is a victim of betrayal of trust and heartbreak. Alas! They make up their minds never to fall in love again, breaking other innocent people’s hearts in the process, and the cycle continues.

A friend of mine once told me how his friend took advantage of his nice nature and betrayed him. He had given the friend some money to help him purchase a car; only for the friend to abscond with the money.

Another man told me how he helped his family members and the only way they could repay him was to accuse him falsely to the point that he was ostracized by his village community. The man made a statement I’d never forget. He said, “HELP IS A SIN.”

For these two aforementioned people, experience taught them a bitter lesson they would never forget, their perceptions about trust and help have also changed and perhaps  nothing can be done or said to make them feel otherwise. In the end, experiences are very important but can make us the finest or the worst of men.

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