Recently, I was navigating a particularly pothole riddled road in Bangalore. We get many of those in the city, but this was new territory for me as the locality I was in was the first time that I was there. It being night time and the visibility being poor, I had to slow right down every few feet to ensure that the ride was not more jarring than it already was. While negotiating a particularly deep pot hole, I found that there was traffic overtaking me from the right and the left. The drivers seemed to be able to find a smooth patch of road where all I could find were ditches and speed bumps all along. They were experienced drivers – experienced in driving on this stretch of the road.
I pride myself on being smart with finding these “good” stretches on roads that I am familiar with. For example, there is this stretch on one of the roads that I visit regularly – the lane closer to the divider is similar to the moon’s surface from close range. The farther lane is like what the surface of the moon looks like from a few hundreds of thousands of miles away – smooth as silk. Often, I find that vehicles negotiating that stretch for the first time, unaware of the smoother half of the road, tend to hit the rough patch whereas the more experienced drivers avoid it easily enough.
The key, of course, is experience. The difference between a Narendra Modi sweeping the elections and Arvind Kerjriwal lead Aam Admi Party winning only 4 seats in the Parliamentary elections comes down to experience. While Modi has the experience of serving in the Bharatiya Janata Party for many decades, an old hand with the political system, Kejriwal showed his inexperience in resigning as the Chief Minister of Delhi within 50 days of forming the Government! Winning elections at a National level or winning in a sport requires an experienced leader at the helm. It is no wonder, then, that when South Africa reached the #1 spot in the world Test rankings in cricket, it took their captain Graeme Smith, over 8 years of captaincy experience to achieve that goal. It is not by chance that India got there towards the end of the 2000s – an experienced bunch of cricketers lead them there.
An intangible but highly valued component, it is difficult to grasp its importance when one is starting out on his or her career in any field. Ask a kid at the age of 17 when he has won the Under-17 World Cup. He would feel ready to take on the best in the world and would be confident that he would come out on top while not valuing the contribution that an aging cricketer would be making to a team. It is only when he has played through many years of cricket and faced the many ups and downs that sport and life invariably throws at him, would he realize the value of experience. He would then acknowledge the value of age and expertise gained over the years.