The Value of Experiences

LifeExperience_no1_AWhen I say experiences, what do you think of ?

Do you jump to the lessons you’ve learned in your life ?

Do you look back at the things that you’ve done and how they’ve shaped you ?

What value do you place on those experiences ?
Have the experiences shaped you into the person you want to be ?

Throughout my life, I’ve been primarily a destination type person. Yes, I’ve had experiences along the way, and yes, those experiences have shaped me and I have become ultimately who I am because of those experiences. But when you start to look at the experiences, it really starts to become a point of what value do you place on those experiences and how do you incorporate those experiences into your personality or the way you interact. For some of us, we may look at specific events that have changed us. It may be a case where those experiences have pushed us so far out to one side that we may no longer be able to look at the previous path and we may instead now be forced to take a new direction in life. For many of us, we may think that the status quo is the way to go and staying on the straight and steady, regardless of the experiences you’ve had in your life. Regardless of how you feel about your experiences, there are some experiences, for better or worse that will have a larger impact on your life than others.

As mentioned previously, I was a destination type person. As I’m quickly learning, I’m liking the journey part, and in fact I think I’m seeking that part out more and more. Maybe to go back to a previous post (Right Now), where I referenced an analogy of Rocks, Gravel and Sand. You can look at your life’s activities or experiences and realize that those items all contribute to your personality and your make-up. I look at how my work experiences have shaped my career and how I can now interact with individuals with an ease or simplicity, only because I’ve had those experiences previously. So in that respect its almost like a familiarity. So what about those unfamiliar experiences ?

Do you go out and seek those unfamiliar experiences, or do you like just staying the course ? I admit there is a certain amount of comfort and ease with that direction. I’m not here to judge you. But let me ask you this. How fulfilled are you ? I don’t expect an answer on this… and believe me there is no right or wrong answer to that question. You just need to justify that to yourself. As many of you know, I practice Yoga. I have for several years. When I travel, I try to go to studios in that area that I travel to. For example, practicing in Tokyo Japan. Yes the entire class was in Japanese, did I understand the instruction, well some, but regardless it was fun. I learned from this experience that I can immerse myself into something completely unfamiliar and maybe struggle a bit, but in the end I have a great story. If you know me, I will convey my stories to my friends. If you’ve heard my stories, I know you’ll say one thing. I tell them with exuberance and panache. Its my experience coming out. This is just one very slight example of what I mean. More and more I’m learning that I need the challenge of the experiences that push me outside of my comfort zone. I’m finding that my greatest learning and joy is now coming from those experiences I previously would have not ever sought out or even imagined. I am also finding that I place a higher value on the experiences that took me outside my comfort zone, or that pushed me into a new way of thinking.

One thing that I really enjoy is listening to others tell their experiences. I listen very intently for the lesson that it has taught them, and try to determine how it has changed their life. For some, it turns their world completely up-side down, but what is also import is what value do they place on those experiences ?

I think there are other experiences that can really shape who you are and the direction your life will take you. I think for me there is no one singular experience. I think that its the culmination of all those that I have as friends and the experiences that I’ve had with those in my life that have shaped me and who have made me who I am today. I admit that may sound like a bit of a cop-out answer or example. However I can think to a couple of examples of how stories I’ve heard and the interaction I’ve had with others has re-shaped me. I can think of three very distinct instances and I’ve blogged about them already (Go More, See More / Altruism / Priorities ). So those are the experiences that have happened to me in the past, and have influenced me. The past where I really wasn’t seeking out those experiences, but that they happened nonetheless. I’m now focused on the future and wondering what new experience will I have next and will it take my life into a new direction.

What are you doing to seek out those experiences ?

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