Experience Does for the Soul, What Education Does for the Mind

A lot has changed within and around my life since publishing ‘6 Proven Steps to a Fulfilling Life and Career’ – an account that was penned at a time when things were not as clear to me as they are now. So as one would expect, I could not help returning to the very advice that I offered with such assurance to cyberspace, and ultimately to my 6000+ LinkedIn followers nearly six months ago.

For starters, you can be comforted in knowing that the advice was sound, and in no way contradicted the amazing journey that has brought me to this point – right now.., this very moment.

In that article, I shared an important piece of advice given to me by one of my mentors, just as I was about to commence a new assignment with a major UN agency.

In her own words: “There are 3 kinds of people: (1) Those who have no ideas; (2) Those who have good ideas; and (3) Those who have good ideas who can influence others.”

As a young professional, I saw the latter as my personal ideal, and felt compelled to strive for it; and thankfully I did – committing myself to a life-changing journey that has taught me many invaluable lessons, and blessed me with a bounty of unforgettable experiences.

My life as it is today, is undeniably a consequence of a plethora of factors, that range from being raised in a Christian household, to having access to the highest standards of education available within the Caribbean. But so too is it the consequence of my decisions to swim against the tides of poverty and the failing social systems that life in the Caribbean offered me as a young boy.

These however are by no means exclusive to my experience; and the novelty of my life-story is perhaps best revealed in my personal accounts of the last year.

Celebrating the Victories, Embracing the Challenges of the Past Year

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I can vividly recall traveling to Trinidad and Tobago just days prior to Christmas 2015 on a secret mission to complete my PhD dissertation. There was an absolute sense of urgency about it that no conceivable pleasure in the world could have quelled at that point – I needed to complete that PhD.

After 6 months of persistent work, I was finally able to submit my final dissertation. That was for me a moment of victory within itself; but the real satisfaction was found not in the moment, but in the journey, and the richness of the experiences that those 6 months of raw toil brought.

At the end of it all, I wept as I reflected on the many sleepless nights, untimely mental blocks, and utterly depressing moments that I had to battle through to experience that moment of victory. It was one of the most humbling experiences of my life.

Then on November 17, 2016, my lifelong dream of attaining a PhD became a reality – having successfully defended my doctoral research in the presence of faculty members and colleagues that I had known for more than a decade.

In the words of world-renowned Content Creator, Casey Neistat (of YouTube fame), “Experience does for the soul, what education does for the mind”.

One of the most profound details about my journey thus far, is what I refer to as my ‘personal treasure chest of experiences’ that range from traveling across continents, to working within major international organizations, alongside some of the world’s leading experts in my field. But to whom much is given, much is required, and the immense levels of personal sacrifice have tested and proven my character many times over.

So today as I stand on the verge of some of the greatest moments of my life to date, I am comforted in knowing that my experiences have prepared me for such a time as this. For through these, I have learnt to celebrate life’s victories, while embracing its challenges.

Click here to connect on Twitter, or follow @Jamal_Browne.

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