There’s No Substitute for Experience

There’s No Substitute for Experience

Think about one of the most important and lasting lesson you’ve ever learned. Where did it happen? How did it happen? Did it come from a person, event, or a search engine?

I’m going to guess that when you really think about why this lesson had such a significant impact, the experience it came wrapped in plays a role.

When information is delivered in ways that engage all our senses (let’s call this primary experience), it makes the fullest impression. While it’s possible to forget what we’ve experienced, it’s impossible to unlearn it. For instance, we can be told not to check essential items in our baggage when traveling, but not until spending three days without our luggage do we believe it. Lived experience makes a huge difference.

When facilitators craft an experience that ties into participants’ interest, we have a true catalyst for deep learning. Consider; there are plenty of essays, studies and talks about the value of untethering ourselves from our screens. However, actually taking time away from our various devices, doing something different and discovering the clarity, relaxation and expanded sense of time this brings is hard to forget.

In a time when information bombards us without context, it is important to seek experiences that deliver meaningful lessons to support our vision. When planning how we want to function, we should consider what experiences will help make the material lasting and valuable to our lives.

In Adventure Education, we’re constantly gathering experiences, using reflection to learn from them, and applying what we discover to being our best. If that sounds good to you, check out our courses and the Adventure Education Major. If you have questions, please contact Eli Shostak at


Eli Shostak on a mountainEli is a Lecturer of Adventure Education at FLC with expertise in mindful leadership, expedition planning and leadership, and tons of experience leading others in finding the personal and interpersonal benefits of exploring wild spaces.