You Can’t Binge Experience

Today one of the buzz-words used everywhere seems to be, “binge.” Everywhere from sitcoms to television dramas “binge” is the word.

Need to catch up on a series? Binge. Need to learn all there is about some formerly unknown face? Binge. Need to learn about a company or business executive? Binge. In other words, all one needs to do in today’s world of instant access to just about anything in order to “learn” about it, is to binge.

Yes, you may find a lot of information and consume it quickly with almost gluttonous intent. But (and its a very big but) that doesn’t translate or facilitate into what many believe…
That the gaining of knowledge alone can substitute as a gaining of knowledge via experience.

I see so many people today fall into the trap where they believe just because they have immersed themselves into a subject via the mere act of “binging” (regardless of topic) they believe they know all there is to know based on “volume” rather than experience. Only to then find themselves in situations they are inadequately trained for – or worse, unknowingly ignorant to the possible ramifications (good or bad) of the decisions and actions they must make.

Let me throw out a few examples to make my argument. (These are only to illustrate an analogy, nothing more.)
If you were confronted with a hostage situation and had to choose one officer over another where choice #1 was to send in an officer who never read a book on hostage negotiations. Yet, had successfully ended more than 5 episodes. Or ,would you send in choice #2 that was a rookie officer fresh from the academy, graduated with honors, and had read nearly every book on negotiations 101?

If you were confronted with a raging out of control fire where lives were trapped inside would you: Send in a firefighter who never read or attended a class on rescuing multiple victims simultaneously. Yet, had  personally rescued 12 lives in multiple fires. Or, the firefighter fresh out of school with this being their first encounter with an uncontainable blaze coupled with lives in imminent danger; yet, has read every book to date on search and rescue in a burning building?

I could post hundreds more of these types of analogies however, I believe my point is obvious. One may binge all they want on any subject matter yet that doesn’t mean it translates into instant or learned experience. Experience is experience. Period. A person who has gained true experience may binge as to immerse themselves further into their area of expertise and become wiser, better prepared, etc. The person without the hands on experience can’t do the same. Why?

It’s for this reason: The experienced eye can look through book based premises and assumptions with an understanding of what works in theory, and what works in practice. The book smart only knows what is in the book and what’s in the book may or may not only be inaccurate, it may even be hazardous to the reader.

This is where I see so many aspiring executives, budding entrepreneurs, and others wasting valuable time and energy. They are substituting the resource of gaining hands on experience (usually by avoidance or not engaging) via the act as to binge on a given topic, rather than doing what’s truly necessary.

Get out there and put what you currently have or know into motion and –  get on, with the getting on, of the matter.

You can learn, read, or binge on any subject you like. However, without gaining the most crucial element needed to help one become a leader or true entrepreneur; experience. You’ll be doing nothing more than the equivalent of someone at a discount, “All you can eat sushi buffet” restaurant.

They’ve read all the books stating sushi is wonderful, healthy, and delicious. However, only someone with experience knows “discount” and “sushi” in the same sentence is not a reason to binge. Rather, it means the exact opposite.

Think about it.

© 2014 Mark St.Cyr