Everyone is heavily influenced by what they’ve experienced firsthand, because what you’ve experienced is more persuasive than something you read about.

~ Morgan Housel from,


That’s one small insight from a bunch in an article nominally about finance. Most of the others also apply to life generally. What’s that old saw from Twain? Something like, “holding a cat by the tail, you’ll learn something through experience that can be learned no other way.” I find it fascinating that, although I’d wager none of you have done that with a cat, we all have a good idea of what we’d learn in the doing.

Related, I once managed—mostly successfully—to wrangle a 6-foot iguana which had horrifically befouled itself, into a warm, steamy shower enclosure, myself remaining outside. It occurred to me to use long oven mitts, to grab from behind, and to keep her oriented so her thrashing tail swung in a plane not including any of me. Through that experience I learned a lot about an iguana’s claws, the true range-of-motion of that body plan’s limbs, and the level of focus and determination she had from millions of years of evolution. We also developed a new relationship: me, wary. Her, indefatigable drive to some day murder my pasty, clawless ass.