I recently went for a promotion... and got rejected because I lacked experience... specifically... the experience of leading and managing people.
It's true. I cannot argue against their judgement... because I do not have enough experience in this area. I can accept this.
What would make it easier to accept, however, is if there were opportunities for me to gain is experience in my current role. Unfortunately, there is not. Which means I need to consider my future.
My current situation aside... I have been considering experience... as a means of differentiation... possibly the only means left to us now.
Let me explain.
Take music, for example: Access is now king. Before it would have been ownership... but in the days of bit-torrents and spotify... we have, at our fingertips, unparalleled access to the kind of content we could only have dreamed of before. Thanks to my Internet connection, I can access any album that takes my fancy. Not everything but far more than just my personal collection.
Or take books? Access to content has always been available through Public Libraries. I am a huge fan of the Library and hope they never disappear... because they give access to ideas that a private citizen may never have otherwise.
I am grateful to Amazon for their Kindle. I recently bought one and love it. It complements my iPad nicely and it is some "thing" that enhances my life... because it gives me access to their whole library of material... albeit at a reduced price rather than for free. The Kindle and the Kindle apps are enablers in this manner.
That said... if we all have access to all this content... what differentiates us as people?
Access is not enough. We need to do something with this access to benefit. We need to experience.
I believe every book we read... every song we hear... every relationship we build and conversation we hold... every mile we travel... builds us as people. We are shaped by our inputs. They are what allow us to grow.
It's all fine and well to have the ability to access anything we want... we need to do something with it. This was true before digital... and it's true now.
Increased access gives us width.
Yesterday I read H.P.Lovecraft and from the Message translation of St Matthew's Gospel. I went for a bicycle ride on my refurbished BSA Javelin then watched "Mary Poppins" and a number of videos on Vimeo. I also listened to a post-rock compilation featuring artists from throughout the world... as well as listening to two Italian guitarists playing the most exquisite Baroque music on their acoustic guitars. This is width and it is this width allows me to experience some very different and disparate things.
The key is experience... and it is our experience that differentiates us.
Whilst we may be moving towards homogeneity when it comes to our devices... it's what we do with them that counts. iPhones & Androids, iPods & zunes, iPads and Kindles... may all becoming ubiquitous but the content on them varies and what we do with them varies even more.
I see this as a tremendous opportunity... because we need to... in fact, we have to... look beyond the homogeneous artefacts to see the content.
Before we could judge a book by it's cover or an album by it's artwork... now we need to inquire. The visual clues have changed and we now have more work to do.
We'd better get busy then.
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