Wednesday, February 5, 2014

the collection of experiences

Pursue experiences...because nobody wants to hear stories of all the money you made
‒ Simon Sinek

Actually, money is not the issue.  So make lots of it if that is what you want and then tell us how you did it.  We will be fascinated by your story and we will perhaps even admire you.  More than money, what we truly care about are experiences.

It is often said that a person is a result of his or her experiences.  Indeed, life can be seen as a set of experiences.  And that alone is a clue to going about changing our lives for the better, if that is what we seek.  After all, if we do wish to be someone better than who we are today, we will have to go through certain experiences to get there.  Just like our past experiences created who we have become, our present experiences will create who we will become.

Certainly, we all enjoy experiences, usually ones that are different compared to those we have been in before.  A new country to visit, a new friend to go out with, a new project at work, a new hobby where we can express ourselves differentlly; these are a few examples of activities among many that satisfy our desire for novelty.  And we pursue these experiences over and over again.  They stimulate us, make us feel better about ourselves, and provide an pleasant escape from our problems.  But what if, in addition to the pursuit of experiences, we collected them as well?

By collecting experiences as opposed to pursuing them, we have a more permanent hold on them.  We are not going after them merely to keep ourselves happy, entertained, or challenged for a moment; we are collecting them because they are at the core of the lives that we wish to have.  Because we are making the choice to collect them, they are not random, they are not going to waste, and they are not easily forgotten.  More than anything, they are there to establish the foundation that we need to have a life better than the one we have now.  While it is probable that we will eventually move on to other kinds of experiences in our quest, the ones already collected will have served their purpose, enabling us to make that move with great confidence.  In this sense, each experience added to the collection is a sort of investment.

Imagine a man who deeply believes that he is shy.  After many years spent suffering from his shyness more than benefiting from it, he makes up his mind to overcome it once and for all.  Whatever strategy he decides to employ, it will ultimately come down to collecting a series of new experiences in which he believes that he is acting more confidently than he has done before.  The more frequent, the more intense, and the more focused these experiences are, the faster he will become naturally confident.  Old habits will progressively make way for new ones.  Our dear gentleman might even end up enjoying the transformation so much ‒ who wouldn't? ‒ that he will want to tell everyone.  Whether some are fascinated by his story or not, whether others admire him or not, one thing is certain as far he is concerned: his experiences of being shy will be a distant memory.  Thanks to his more recent experiences, he will be able to enjoy the benefits of the confidence that he has gained.

If we aspire to a better life, we will need experiences different from the ones that we are used to.  So let us give ourselves chances to collect them.  More importantly, let us know what this better life would look like.

Happy collecting!

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