Experience is the best teacher; fools learn from no other. Franklin
When I was seven, my family visited an aunt in Chicago, where I discovered a little candy shop and bought five penny candies. Instead of eating them, I conceived my first entrepreneurial scheme: I would take the candy home and sell it to my friends! Glowing with the enriching possibilities of this venture, I carried it out in complete secrecy, and to my delight, my friends at home eagerly snapped up every piece of the candy. I felt prosperously content with the five pennies jingling in my pocket. For about a minute.
Then one of my wiser friends asked me how much I paid for a piece of the candy. “One cent,” I said. “You dumbell, you should have sold them for two cents so you could make money!” he scoffed.
Possibly no one who ever started a business, only to see it fail, ever felt more deflated than I did at that moment.
After awhile I felt the stirrings of commercial instincts again. My friend Larry and I decided to try a lemonade stand one summer. Due mostly to my mother’s culinary skill, it was a great success. She bought the groceries and baked cakes; Larry and I made and sold the lemonade. We split our earnings and then I paid my mother for the groceries.
After a few weeks, Larry proudly showed me a roll of dollars he had saved from our joint venture. I realized with a shock that I had nothing close to this much money. Why? I puzzled over this until my mother pointed out that I was paying for all our supplies, and Larry wasn’t paying a dime. “You’re clueless,” she might as well have said to me, “you should be paying your expenses before you split the proceeds!”
Then I sold greeting cards door to door, visiting friends and neighbors, taking orders for personalized cards, and delivering the boxes. This went well except I misspelled one family’s name and was stuck with the cost of replacing the order. By this time I knew the drill. “You deadhead,” I told myself, “Be careful with the details!”
Years later I organized a co-op in a remote area, providing the only store and steady supply of goods available to three local communities. Did I make more mistakes? Oh, sure. A major one came after the co-op members bought out our supply of rice and I ordered 20 bags to restock. Little did I know then that the breadfruit season was just beginning and no one would need or buy any rice for the next six months. I “ate” that rice. But the co-op was an eventual success for grateful people who had never had a reliable store before, providing jobs for those who worked there, a place to trade their dried coconut meat and buy needed items.
The clueless guy had finally learned a few things by then. And none of those hard-earned lessons has ever been forgotten. They didn’t come from books or lectures, but from experience. They are not just information to me; they are knowledge. And experience teaches best. Our experience makes us who we are, as we convert information into knowledge and, to the extent we use it only for good, into wisdom.
That’s why the Lemurian Philosophy is not just a reading course. It’s a training, with teachers to guide us and evaluations to check our growing understanding and competence in using its principles. By transmuting the Lemurian information into experience, we gain something that will stay with us always, through this life and into all those to come.
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