What You Can Learn From Both Good And Bad Experiences

Everyone has a general idea of what work should be. Some people envision a happy place where they’re productive for several hours out of the day, while others associate it with dread and despair. No matter how you view work, it’s a necessary part of living within our society. Whether you despise or enjoy your work, you can learn from it. Both good and bad experiences are great teachers, especially if you’re the type of person who learns the hard way.

Learning From Good Experiences

Good experiences at work are easy to learn from as you just have to find a way to incorporate that behavior or activity into your day and you can recreate the same experience. Learning from good experiences usually happens when you’re under a high-caliber manager. Think back to a time when you had a manager you enjoyed working with that actually produced results. We’ll get back to a manager you enjoyed working with but lacked the results to be considered effective later.

Think of the traits that made a specific manager effective and what made you enjoy working with them. If you can break down the specific actions that made that manager effective along with the mindset behind their actions, you have a chance to recreate that environment. While this sounds hard, it is more of a “learn by example” sort of a trial. Honestly, experience is the best teacher in this situation and it is a lot easier to narrow down what good and effective traits are if you’ve had a bad and ineffective manager.

Learning From Bad Experiences

Sometimes bad experiences are the best teachers. Empirical knowledge is the knowledge you get from experience as opposed to prior or rudimentary knowledge. Oftentimes, people who “learn the hard way” are people who aren’t ready to take advice as they lack the empirical knowledge to make good use of it. Sometimes this is disguised as curiosity, take for example, children who are told not to touch a frying pan or pot because it’s hot, but touch it anyway just to find out for themselves. Even though the child is told not to do something and is explained why, without experiencing it themselves, they would never grasp the real-world implications of their actions.

Contrary to popular belief, bad experiences aren’t only tied to bad managers. You can have bad experiences with fun or “good” managers. Good is in quotations there because that’s what workers incorrectly call fun or lenient managers. When a manager only focuses on ensuring their team is comfortable and forgets to emphasize being productive, they become ineffective. This lack of productivity is the start of problems with a team. Without proper leadership, a team’s productivity begins to degrade. Tasks begin to fall through the cracks without ever being corrected and this will become the norm, as people see it is okay to do without.

Learning from the mistakes others make is a painless way to learn from bad experiences as long as you can identify the mistakes. It isn’t just enough to be able to identify them, you also need to make an action plan to prevent them from happening again. While this is easier to do in a managerial position, it can still be done as a rank and file staff, you’d just need the support of your managers.

The Wrap Up

Learning from bad experiences is similar to good ones in the sense that you must be able to analyze the situation and determine what made that experience favorable or unfavorable, then, you must be able to create a plan to either recreate or avoid that situation. Learning a lesson, even if it’s what not to do, is a great way to make the best of a situation. Learning from mistakes, whether they’re someone else’s or your own, turns a bad situation into a learning experience, which will help you grow into a more well-rounded individual.