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Awareness versus Experience

You take the blue pill — the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill — you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes.

– Morpheus, The Matrix


In the 1999 sci-fi movie The Matrix, two worlds exist, one made of imagination and one of reality.  The blue pill keeps you in the imaginary world, and the red pill makes you aware of the world as it is.

Awareness versus Experience

In our connected world today, there is no reason to be uninformed.

If we choose, we can know about typhoons in Malaysia and hurricanes in Puerto Rico.  We can learn of riots in Bagdad and protests in New York, of cyber-attacks in Russia and of censorship in China, and of heartbreaking losses on the football fields in England and the victories in Kansas City.

We can be aware of all these events, but very few actually get to experience them.

We can intuitively know many things, but only the things we personally experience can we truly know.

Awareness versus Experience in Business

Understanding how we know things is vital in making business decisions.  Every business leader and entrepreneur needs to appreciate where the information comes from on which they make decisions.  There is a difference between hearing about something and experiencing it.


Some decisions must be made based on awareness.

Occasionally a quick answer is needed to questions that we have no experience.  In these situations, we rely on “rules of thumb” and provide a solution to the simplest part of the issue.  Our confirmation bias takes over, and we rely on information and past experiences that help us justify an inexperienced answer.

Our answers, however, are simply a response to how self-aware we are to the circumstances surrounding us.  Although we contrive an explanation based on how aware we are of our business world, it is really no better than an educated guess.


The beauty of experience is that the more of it you have, the easier and more reliable are your decisions within that particular field.

Intuition is a form of experience knowledge from which sound decisions can be drawn.  And with each particular positive decision outcome follows a greater proficiency in making better decisions.

And if you do not have the experience, you can rely on someone who does have that experience.  Testimony of an eye witness in a court of law carries a higher weight than someone who has simply heard secondhand.  Books on how to do something from an author who actually did it are more popular and reliable than a book from an author who simply researched a topic.  Wouldn’t you rather read from an author who made millions using an investment strategy than from someone who is just writing about a theoretical investment idea?

Practical Business Issues.

In our culture today, we are aware of lots of competing advice and information.  Knowing which information to rely on is critical in making the right decisions.  Is the source of information simply aware, or do they have experience on which to base their recommendations?   Are they telling you what they think will work or what they have experienced to work?  Do you hear real-time information or secondhand reports?

The Bible

The Bible provides an excellent basis on which to consider awareness and experience.

Everyone can be aware of God’s love and forgiveness.  The Word of God is available for everyone to read John 15:9 when He says,

“just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love.”

God finds many different ways to say it, but the main message is always the same, “I love you.”

Being aware of God’s love, however, is different from knowing and experiencing His love.  A stumbling block for many is the incorrect notion that God’s love is tough love, that it comes with disciple and limits.  Rightly understood, God’s love comes with boundaries; it is freedom with limits.

But until you have felt (experienced) the Spirit enter your heart and convict you of your sins, you will only know of God’s love but not know God’s love.

Business leaders need to be aware, but more importantly, be experienced. 

Your leadership is predicated on people believing your message, and if they know the source of your message, just like knowing and experiencing God’s love, the stronger their conviction will be in following you.