“Experience isn’t the best teacher. Good experience is the best teacher.” – Chuck Swindoll
I like Swindoll’s adjustment to that adage. No one ever became a great cook by learning only bad recipes. A great cook has to learn the right ingredients and understand how those ingredients relate to each other.
Once in awhile, someone will pop the question, “Would you ever skydive?” The thrill of the jump is appealing to me, so my first inclination is to say “Yes,” but my brain always does some quick math and reminds me that I have three kids who need a provider. The recreational benefit is outweighed by the cost to their lives. So, it’s a no-brainer to say “No.” Too bad so many of life’s decisions aren’t no-brainers. Sometimes we just have to jump.
I had an opportunity to bungee jump at the California State Fair years ago. A promoter brought in a ten-story steel arch with an elevator that would take jumpers up to the top. I paid my $60 and got in line. Any cocky “I’m bad, you know it!” sense that I might have had (visualize Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder) dissipated when I saw that a lady in her 50s was in front of me in line. When it came my turn, they took me up and the operator told me not to think but just look out and jump to the horizon. So, that’s what I did. It was awesome! I laughed my butt off. And in truth, the experience was mild. The bungie cord was really a gentle pull. Felt pretty safe. The whole think had been inspected by OSHA. In terms of risk, it was minor to none.
Later in the day, however, the promoters put on a show using professional divers. There was a circular pool under the arch that was maybe 10 feet deep. One thing they did was take a diver about two thirds up the side of the arch to dive into that pool with no bungee cord. To me, that would have been terrifying, but you know an experienced diver has the control to pull off this kind of stunt easily. However, there was something interesting they had to do. At the height from which the diver stood, he could not discern the bottom of the pool from the surface. A couple of people had to stand at the edges and stir the water so he could make it out.
He made the jump. It was amazing. Very cool.
Now my point…
I think good experience teaches us our own tricks for swizzling the water when we have to dive. A good diver can glean a lot from simple ripples. If you have to dive, best discern the bottom from the top.