Prisoner of Our Own Experiences

Back in 1973, my wife and I went to see American Graffiti. You might remember it was about hamburger joints, car-hops, cruising … all the fun stuff that she and I had enjoyed as teenagers. Even though we were from different parts of the country (my wife is from the Midwest – Kansas City, Missouri and I’m from one of the Boston MetroWest suburbs) we thoroughly enjoyed watching the movie and connecting with it.

At that time, I was working at The Hartford and one of my close friends who worked with me came from New York City. He and his girlfriend went to see the movie with us. As we walked outside afterwards, he said that was a fun movie but how could anyone come up with all of that ‘fiction.’ My wife and I just stared at him dumbfounded: fiction we asked? That was real, that is how we grew up, nothing about the basic tenets of American Graffiti was fiction.

He laughed at us. He couldn’t believe how we so closely identified with the movie. We asked him where he took his dates on Saturday night: night court, he answered without missing a heart-beat. And again my wife and I were dumbfounded. Night court?! Who takes a date to night court?

We are all prisoners of our own experiences. Those experiences shape us, inform us and act as signposts as we move through life. We have to remember that our experiences are not universal. More importantly, we have to look outside our experiences if we are to improve ourselves and more on point to my blog, improve how insurance business is transacted.

Improvements are far more than streamlining operations or speeding up transactions. Improvements include using current and emerging technologies to develop products that prospective policyholders and producers expect, deliver those products and services using technologies that may not be part of our experiences, and strive (and probably struggle) to keep up with an ever-changing environment and marketplace.

Without getting out of our prisons of past experiences, we’ll never find that mysterious but beautiful blond in the Thunderbird.

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Published in: on October 2, 2009 at 9:53 am  Leave a Comment  
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