In finance, it’s clear what is an asset and what is a liability. Assets make you money, liabilities cost you money. In realms outside of finance, particularly when it comes to knowledge and experience, there is a blur where someone thinks an asset exists, there is actually a liability.
Imagine thinking that because 25 years ago electric cars weren’t ready to become mainstream and various initiatives from government and automotive companies failed, that they will fail today. That’s ignoring much of the initial conditions of the problem. 25 years ago, much of the electrical grid was still based on fossil fuels, switching to electric vehicles just moved the source of where the fossil fuel was combusted. Today, solar, wind, and other renewable energy sources are making a larger contribution to the total electricity generation than ever before. Not only that, the cost to produce these technologies has dropped drastically as they have become mainstream.
Yet, there are many that persist believing that things won’t work out this time because they didn’t work out decades ago. As if the world stands still. Experience is something that is usually seen as an asset. You’ve gained wisdom. You are more likely to see your endeavors correctly. However, if your past experience was failure, or something that prevents you moving forward because you can’t correctly identify the changes in the world between that previous experience and now, it is a liability.
The great thing is if you recognize it, you can turn your experience from that liability back into an asset. That’s not true in finance, a debt is an obligation no amount of recognition or wishing will change that.