Experience is Highly Overrated


I’ve recently been studying the life of David, the king of Israel, in preparation for teaching a course in chiropractic leadership. From his life I’ve learned that experience, especially in the area of leadership, is not really that important. David was a young shepherd with no military experience when he met Goliath an enemy that the entire army, including King Saul, feared. David’s only “battle” experience was against a lion and a bear using a slingshot, not much experience to go up against a 9 foot giant with a bronze breastplate that weighed 150 pounds. A stone would not even dent it. Yet that was the extent of his experience and we all know how he prevailed. What we might miss in the Sunday School story is that David had something greater than armor, something that would serve him better. He embraced a principle, the knowledge of that principle created confidence, enough confidence to take on an “uncircumcised Philistine” with his slingshot, no armor, and to be victorious.

Some of our country’s greatest leaders lacked experience. Thomas Jonathan Jackson was an instructor at a boy’s military school when the War Between the States broke out. He joined the Army of Northern Virginia, his home state, and was largely responsible for much of its success. Ironically, shortly six weeks after he was killed at Chancellorsville, the Southern Army suffered its first and a major defeat at Gettysburg, considered by many, the turning point of the war. He had no prior military experience after graduating from West Point. General Eisenhower had little military experience before assuming command of all Allied forces in World War II. Like “Stonewall” Jackson, Eisenhower was trained at West Point. Education (in their case knowing the principles of warfare) was more important than experience.

Getting to the issue of experience in chiropractic, Jim Healey was picked to replace me as President of ADIO in 1981 by Thom Gelardi. Thom must have seen something in Healey that took precedence over his lack of experience, having been a recent Sherman graduate and never in practice. Knowing Jim now for over 30 years has helped to convince me of the truth of the title of this article and why Gelardi wanted him at the helm of ADIO. Jim has demonstrated a clear understanding of chiropractic philosophy and the practical application of its principles. Any experience he might have lacked would have been demonstrated by anyone never having been in chiropractic education, especially straight chiropractic education. I was an example of that. Despite having more practical chiropractic experience than Jim, I did no better nor I believe would anyone else have. In my opinion Jim Healey was the right man for the job and he did a good job. Unfortunately for him, the school, the profession, and the Board of Trustees had no experience and little vision (with a few exceptions) and because of that they did not have a clear vision of what ADIO was about and what it should represent. Jim Healey did and still does. When I hear him speak now, it is not his years of experience that impresses me but his unwavering adherence to those same principles that he had in 1981.

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This article has 1 comment

  1. Claude 08/06/2015, 5:48 pm:

    Jim Healy’s slingshot is his deeper understanding of the 33 principles of chiropractic’s basic science and his unflinching commitment to clarify them. 😉

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