It is said that experience is the best teacher, but to learn consciously through wisdom may even be a better and more convenient way...hence the latest saying “Example is the best teacher.” Really, I wont make the decision for you, I'll rather dabble round the two sayings and leave the ball in your court to decide.
To learn by experience is to learn by mistakes but to learn by example is to learn from the doings of others. For me, I ask myself, why do I have to make the mistake or fall a victim of the circumstance before I learn my lesson, when someone, somewhere, somehow has actually gone through the same predicament and hence could be an example for me to learn from? I believe having to experience the pain and agony can be a tough, costly and inconvenient way to learn. We can easily learn by going out of our way to acquire knowledge and wisdom rather than leave our learning to chance.
Let's paint a scenario, I believe we all at one point or the other attended a Mathematics or Quantitative Analysis class, when a new topic is to be introduced, what does the instructor start with, Examples or Experience? No instructor takes a student through the experience without an example. So eventually, when you go through the experience, you come out triumphant. I therefore think our crave in every situation of life should be example and not experience. There is nothing new under the sun, this tells us that there is nothing we are presently going through or about to go through that doesn't have an example which we can take a cue from. Surely, we can learn from mistakes, but why wait till when we make mistakes before we learn? My opinion, we should give more premium to learning by wisdom than by experience.
To do this, i.e. learn by example, one will have to make up ones mind to be decisive in learning. We must decide to learn consciously and not necessarily from negative experiences. In the football world, when a fixture pitches you against an unfamiliar opponent, what do managers do? They travel down to watch them play (learning by example) or pick up a tape (recorded match), thereby learning their moves and operations before going into the match proper. Someone actually said certain things wont be effectively learnt until you experience it, I doubt that though.
There is a common saying...”Fool me once, shame on you...Fool me twice, shame on me!”. This shows that having experienced it myself, nothing of such can ever pull me down again. However true this is...is left for your imagination. Life is simply the outcome and outplay of our decisions, and our future will therefore be determined by the decisions of today.
Life, as you know is measured in time. I therefore ask the question, do you want to spend your lifetime making mistakes before learning or just live by examples and move on gallantly across phases? As you know, life (time) waits for no man, while you are busy making mistakes and perhaps truly learning, some others are scaling heights simply by riding on the shoulders of those that have gone ahead.
Have you ever seen a mad man enter into fire? Even a mad man knows fire and never enters into it...simply because by example (not necessarily experience), he knows the outcome of a fire burn.
Conclusively on my part, it is much easier and cheaper to learn consciously by wisdom than to learn by experience. Learning by experience, the deed is done and we are just picking p the pieces – learning in regret how to avoid such predicament next time.
Take a stand on your choice...Mr Experience or Mr Example. I look forward to hearing your mind on the subject matter...perhaps your perspective might shed more light on the discussion.