"Men are wise in proportion, not to their experience, but to their capacity for experience." --James Boswell
Childhood memories of the Nintendo adventures my cousin and I had as young boys came flooding to the surface during a visit to a friend's house this past weekend. It was a deja vu-like moment as myself and three other twenty-something year olds played Super Mario Brother's on the Nintendo Wii. I fondly could recall our youthful endeavor to advance past menacing turtles that could fly, leap over venomous goblins who were bent on our destruction, traverse unstable territory, and finagle our way past the hot-headed, stomping dragons. This was done amidst the distant hope of advancing to the next level.
In all of this, I have been intrigued as I contrast my experiences with the Mario Brother's in recent days versus the perspective I had at the innocent age of six. My cousin and I would play ever-trying and doing our best. Even when one of us would get squelched in a lake of molten lava we would forget about it and try again. In fact we thought it was funny. We would laugh hysterically and noisily in a manner that assured we were heard (ask our parents). Those blue overalls were definitely not fireproof and those Italian mustaches did not provide any sort of invincibility. We played Nintendo for the purpose to which it was created: fun. In young adult mode, however, I've noticed that the lava-squelched moments only brought frustration, urges to throw the controller (thank you safety wrist strap), and competitive intensity. I marvel at why. Proper perspective is crucial!
The common thread is this: as a six year old and as a young adult the task is the same: play the level until you get 'kablooeyed'. When you get 'kablooeyed', try again. The power lies in the fact that in each effort we can advance a little further than the last time. Perhaps, we can time the jump right this time, make it a team effort, or find a better method to quash the fiery villain. In the game of Mario we can do better next time because of what we encountered the time before.
Such is life, my friends. Mistakes are made. Sometimes we get munched by the common obstacles of the day. At other times we just can't quite leap as far as we want to. Yet, another day comes in which we walk similar paths with the hope of doing a little bit better than before. We have this hope because we know it is a possibility. Improvement and progression is in our bones. We want it. The key is using the lessons of yesterday to propel us into a better today. We call this experience. Experience is
"You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.' You must do the thing you think you cannot do."
Perhaps the word experience is a one-word summary of our entire existence. Emerson called experience the "fire of thought." I believe that experience is also the fire of action and behavior--the fuel needed to apply knowledge. Indeed, experience is the refining fire of wisdom. In this vein, it seems we would want all the experience we can get. With the accumulation of experience comes the ability to do the things today that we didn't think we could do yesterday. Thus, as Mario would say, "LET'S-A-GO!"