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EXECUTIVE DEVELOPMENT PRESS, INC. Copyright 1953
By Robert R. Updegraff
Welcome All Kinds of Experience
A MAN who worked himself up from stock boy to manger of a large of a large department store has a technique for managing his problems that is as simple as it is sound.
This man explained to me: "When trouble breaks, instead of trying to side-step it-which isn't very often possible in a business like ours-I say to myself, 'Here comes experience. Keep your eyes open!'
"Experience nearly always comes camouflaged as trouble," he went on. "Absorbing experience is usually painful, but that is what pays the top salaries in the department store field."
The same is true in any other kind of business.
A well known boxer was interviewed on television after he had lost an important fight. "You always learn more when you lose," he said.
* * *
Mistakes are another form of experience. We all make what we call "boners." Usually they are a valuable part of our education.
It is what we do about our mistakes that counts. If we worry ourselves half sick over them, we are apt to make more mistakes. If we try to ignore them, or are indifferent to them, we are passing up opportunities to learn something that may be of great value to us. If we try to blame them on other people we make enemies.
Even our dumbest mistakes can be turned to good account if, instead of worrying over them, we face them squarely and ask ourselves: "What can I learn from this mistake?"
Sometimes we are asked to handle some problem or take on some job that is entirely beyond our experience. In such a situation it is comforting to remind ourselves that every new problem has to be worked out by someone who is not quite up to it-at the start. Every big job has to be learned.
Instead of being frightened when we find ourselves in such a spot, we should be thankful. For it means that we are being offered an opportunity to better ourselves, to learn more and earn more.
But we should beware of bluffing about our ability. The wise course, if we are inexperienced, is to admit it, but say we would like very much to tackle the bigger job. We can ask some of our more experienced associates for their help or suggestions. We may be able to use their experience to avoid making serious mistakes.
If we can get no help from others, we must tackle the job anyway, knowing that we are almost bound to bump into difficult problems and make mistakes, but not worrying, since they will be valuable experience in disguise.