How to Overcome the Voice of Experience

The negative impact of experience is a closed mind.

The story of David and Goliath in the Hebrew Bible illustrates the power of embracing new methods when facing unexpected challenges.

The voice of experience:

Failure waits when you use tried and true strategies to face new challenges.

The voice of experience told David to face Goliath using traditional strategies – a sword, shield, and armor. But standing toe-to-toe with the Giant would have been disastrous.

Experienced soldiers were afraid to face Goliath. They knew traditional battle tactics would fail. Yet they told David to stick with traditional methods.

Experience believes it knows how others should face new challenges.

Experience:

  1. is the enemy when it closes your mind.
  2. blinds to new ways of seeing.
  3. over-values current skills and under-values new approaches.
  4. believes traditional approaches are transferable.
  5. limits your ability to assess new challenges.

Traditional methods never produce unexpected results. David faced his challenge with a sling-shot, not a traditional sword and shield.

Experience laughed at David’s bravado because they judged him through the lens of tradition. They knew the Giant would pulverize David because they couldn’t imagine the power of new strategies. But David won.

3 reasons David won:

  1. He went all-in. David ran up hill at the Giant.
  2. He used an unexpected strategy that exploited Goliath’s weakness. (Speed defeated strength.)
  3. He had higher purpose. For David, the conflict was spiritual.

3 lessons:

  1. Conformity destroys the power of diversity.
  2. Fitting in is dangerous in untested waters.
  3. Past success makes you believe you can win using traditional methods. But traditional methods achieve traditional results.

What’s dangerous about the voice of experience?

How might experienced leaders open their minds?