The Humble Reality of Real-World Experience

By Lee Collins •  Updated: 12/08/18 •  4 min read
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When I was in high school, I was dating a girl and we finally arrived at the “meet the parents” moment. I was nervous.

About 2 days before I was to have dinner at their house, my girlfriend happened to mention her dad really loved playing chess and she asked me if I played. A little. A few times.

So I did what any normal teenager would do in 1987, I went to the library and found some books on playing chess and devoured them to the best of my ability in the limited time I had to figure this out so I could try to make a good impression on him.

Fast forward to the evening of the dinner. I walk into the house, we do our greetings, and I notice the chess board. Her dad notices me notice the board and asks if I would like to play while we wait on dinner.


I play first. He counters. I answer back. We’re about 9 moves in and he mentions how good I am, and that he’s gotta really bring his A-game to keep up. I smile nervously.

Then he absolutely crushes me within the few next moves.

What happened?

I read the books and learned the moves from masters. I memorized the strongest openings and counters. I knew exactly what to do from the beginning. My opening was textbook perfect.

Then he made a move I wasn’t expecting.

There was nothing in the book about how to deal with that. Then he did it again. And again. And I was left feeling like an idiot.

The same thing happens with all the Funnel Cucks™ and clones, of people selling high-dollar services when they don’t even know how to play the game.

Sure, they have strong opening moves. Impressive even.

But do they know what to do when everything goes wrong?

Probably not, because that’s not covered in the book. The book only tells you how everything should work if everything is going according to the plan.

Knowing what to do when everything goes wrong comes by actually overcoming everything going wrong and successfully making your way past that obstacle, often repeatedly until the mistake no longer recurs.

That’s called real-world experience.

Back to my humbling chess experience, my high school girlfriend’s dad decimated me because I had no real-world experience, only book knowledge.

I will often hear people say “I know how to do that” just because they read it in a book or watched a video.

What I learned over 31 years ago that it really means is they are familiar with the concept. They don’t KNOW it. They know OF it. Big difference. Huge.

When I work with clients I leverage the entirety of my 25+ years of management, process improvement, systemization, total quality management, kaizen, continuous process improvement, thinking differently, constant testing, marketing systems, strategy and self-reliance to help them incrementally improve their business and marketing efforts toward a greater level of scalability, survivability, security, efficiency and effectiveness than they likely have ever before experienced.

And all that experience came with countless failures and successes in each area. It always does and will. You learn nothing when everything is going right.

If your business is working great and you already have a long-term strategy for growth in place, I celebrate with you and encourage you to keep doing that!

If your business is making $20k or more per month right now and you want to put the systems and strategy in place to scale 2-10x in the next 8-12 months, setup a call and let’s see if it’s a good fit.

Lee Collins

Lee Collins is a former Air Force Network Systems Engineer and Fortune 500 Corporate VP - who is best known as an early pioneer of Direct Response Marketing on the Internet. He has over 24+ years experience running operations for multiple multi-million dollar marketing, software, SEO, financial, and business coaching companies. When Lee isn't helping his private clients solve big (and small) marketing and operations problems, Lee is most likely heading up into the mountains in his fully-equipped Jeep Gladiator. Or just gone fishing.