Experience can be a curse

Why Captain Richard de Crespigny believes learning is crucial to continued development

14 December 2018

Continual learning is essential for development in any organisation.

On The Mentor with Mark Bouris, Captain Richard De Crespigny, famously known for piloting QF32 to safety after a mid-air explosion in 2010, talked about how people who think they’re experts can lead to a path of destruction.

“They say “I’ve been in this trade for 30 years, I don’t need a government or royal commission to tell me what’s wrong, what do they know - I’m an experienced person”, to which I say that experience can be a curse,” Richard said.

“For a doctor who doesn’t keep his experience trained up, or a pilot who doesn’t keep learning new procedures - if you don’t keep developing, you drift to failure.”

But there are some simple steps for people to approach lifelong learning.

“Experience can be a curse if you don’t commit to a lifetime of learning, adaption and change,” Richard said.

“You have to accept that the knowledge you have today might not be needed tomorrow, and commit to a lifetime of learning.”

But that’s not to say that people can’t be experts in their fields - confidence from experience is very valuable.

“Confidence can be great, it builds courage and intrepid fearlessness, but if we’re over-confident and think we know it all, that’s the second before we make a big mistake,” Richard said.

“We need a chronic unease to always look for the things that might go wrong and look for the threats and then stop them or mitigate them.”