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Good Judgement Comes From Experience Essay Topics

Good judgement comes from experience. Experience often comes from bad judgement. – Mulla Nasrudin

That’s not a sand beach, it’s cold hard (and sharp) lava flow. Has bad judgement become experience?

What does that mean?
This quote about judgement is hard to source, having been attributed to dozens of people all the way back to the 13th century. But through the centuries, it rings true.

The quote, usually in two parts, says that your judgement is either good or bad. Good judgement results in success and happiness, while the bad judgements results in experience.

But not always. You have to learn something from your bad judgement to actually gain experience. To continue to good judgement, you have to act on the experience. In short, you have to learn.

So the quote says you have to make a judgement and do something to get a result. If the result is beneficial, it was good judgement. If not, you now have experience, provided you learn from it.

Why is judgement important?
In this context, judgement means to analyze a situation, explore your options, come to a conclusion regarding a course of action, and take that action. The good and bad prefixes are, of course, subjective. What one person considers a success can be a failure to another, right?

But what do we get if we don’t follow those steps if we don’t use judgement? What if we just make a random decision and go with it? We might have a desired result, but we likely will not. And then what? How do we learn anything from the result, how do we gain experience, to improve our next attempt?

The obvious answer is that it will be very difficult. Not impossible, but all you have to go on is a way that doesn’t work, without any reasonable way of improving your next attempt. That is a way to learn, but it is a very, very slow way to do so.

The reason it is important to consider what you are doing before you take action, is so that you can compare what you thought you’d get to what you got, and try to determine which aspects of your decision weren’t properly assessed. Knowing how to change your analysis going forward is what will lead to better judgments going forward.

Where can I apply this in my life?
All you have to do is pick something about which you are considering taking action, and start thinking about it. Draw from your pool of experience (all the ways similar decisions have gone right, or wrong) and consider how you will approach this task differently, so as to maximize your chance of a good judgement. Then do it.

Sounds deceptively simple, doesn’t it? But essentially, that’s all you are doing. Far too often, in an attempt to save time, we rush it, and fail to give adequate consideration to the task at hand. When it goes badly, how do we determine what went wrong, and how to do better next time? What do we learn from this attempt, so that we may claim it as experience?

That may sound trite, but have you ever noticed someone who tries and tries again, doing it the same way each time, or with only minor changes between attempts? Can you say they have learned anything, can you say they have gained experience from any of their judgements? I would say they have not.

To claim a result as experience, and to help make better judgements next time, we have to figure out what went wrong. Was it in our assumptions, or was it in our effort? Did we know all we needed, or did something unexpected happen? When we can answer that, and formulate a better plan, we have gained experience.

While we often draw on our own experience, what do we do when it is a new or unfamiliar situation? We can try to find similarities with some of the things we’ve already done, or we can try to learn from the experiences of others. Scientists build on the experiences of prior experiments to help them with their judgement on their next experiment. You can do it as well.

We all face a big decision from time to time. How much time will you put into your judgement? That would depend on how serious the decision is, right? The more important it is, or the more serious the repercussions of failure are, the more time we should spend before deciding, before rendering our judgement.

And if things don’t go well, we must remember to learn something from it. But not the ‘sour grapes’ kind of learning. That doesn’t make for experience, that’s just being snotty. But if you gather actual, useful and actionable information from the result, then that is real (and useful) experience.

What have you done lately? What have you learned from it, what experience did you get from the action? What prior experience helped you make the judgement, and how did it help? Perhaps more importantly, what will you do next? What experience will you use to help guide your judgement?

From: Twitter, @pmarca
confirmed at : Often attributed to Jim Horning (and others), he found it to be from Mulla Nasrudin.
photo by Laura

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Good Judgment Comes with Experience, But Experience Comes from Bad Judgment

This is part of my Startup Advice series of posts.

I heard Bruce Dunlevie of Benchmark Capital say these words at a conference in London nearly 10 years ago. I jotted the words down (I normally pay little attention to anything said at conferences. Most of it is BS) and thought about them much over the years. I later learned that the quote was taken from somewhere else (perhaps as early as the 13th century!) but whoever is responsible I just want to help spread it.

There is a folklore in Silicon Valley that you should fund first-time entrepreneurs. When you see the successes of Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Larry & Sergey, Marc Andreessen and Marc Benioff it is easy to see the allure (either that or invest in people named Mark ;-)

But it’s not my strategy. I definitely don’t rule out first timers — I just invested in one to be announced soon who I am really excited about — but I greatly prefer experience. It’s easy to say you’d back a great team that has previously been successful -

that’s a no brainer. Fred Wilson outlines why in his piece “Swinging For the Fences.” He outlines that Union Square has overwhelmingly had success with either first-timers or serial succeeders.

I can’t argue with Fred. He has a great track record and I’m a newbie. But I was asked recently whether I would prefer to back a first-time team or a team that had failed once before. Obviously it depends on the team and the idea but holding all else constant I would personally back the team that had previously failed.

I’m fond of saying that I F’d up everything as a first time entrepreneur. Actually, we got much right, too. We corrected mid flight. I believe great entrepreneurs do that. They do what VC’s like to call “pivot.” Boy did I pivot. I went from 92 staff members + 30 contractors (e.g. 122 in total) to 38 people in one day and then down to 33 immediately after that. I went from managing a team to “flipping burgers.”

So in my case, I believe that I acquired good judgment from my previous bad judgment. We eventually got a successful exit but I can’t say it was a Google like exit! I believe that it helped me succeed in my second company.

Seeing how entrepreneurs handled adversity and difficult decisions tells me a lot about who I’m going to be working with if I invest. I learn much from hearing whether they have humility, understanding what they learned from their failure (or success), gauging the speed of decision-making and willingness to admit when they were wrong. I also look to see whether they can make the really difficult decisions (like firing all of your friends — this is no fun.)

The way I like to make my point about the quote is with something that all of us know innately. When your parents told you at 15 not to feel so heart-broken when your girlfriend or boyfriend broke up with you because you’d meet many more people in life you probably remember feeling like the only special person you’d ever meet just got away. They couldn’t tell you this — you had to learn it.

For many of us we had warnings about not drinking too much and yet we still found ourselves “praying to the porcelin G-d” on prom night or at a frat party. Instructing people can’t create wisdon, experience will.

Which is why I recently wrote a post called, “Is it Time to Earn or to Learn” asking people to think about what they hope to attain from their current job or from the job for which they’re currently interviewing. I wasn’t trying to encourage everybody to become a CEO tomorrow — I was encouraging them to learn.

Every day I talk with entrepreneurs in my office. I’ve been a VC for 2.5 years now (an entrepreneur for nearly a decade before that) and as a result I’ve gotten to see many first-timers progress over time. It amazes me the pattern spotting you can pick up from all these meetings. I had so many discussions with people when they launched their companies about what each of us thought would happen and now it’s enlightening to have those conversations 18 months later.

Some of these people are people I wasn’t ready to back but I said, “I’d love to find a way to work with you on your next company.” I think this quote would resonate with most of them.

I prefer second time (or more) entrepreneurs. Sure, I would love to work with people who have had multiple successes. But I’m not afraid of entrepreneurs that didn’t succeed the first time. I want to work with talented people with good judgment. And so I’m out to spread the word, “Good Judgment Comes from Experience, but Experience Comes from Bad Judgment.” Go out and learn.

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