There are things, in fact most of them, that are taken for granted in our lives, when we consider them to be quite obvious. In doing so, we indirectly incapacitate ourselves to get the maximum out of such ideas. Experiences are one of those exact unfortunate concepts that are of vital importance in our lives but only if they’re truly understood and amassed insights from, that were never a part of you before. It is, therefore, necessary that we attempt to define what constitutes an experience first as it’s the cornerstone of personal growth.
Experience is anything that happens in your life, to you or caused by you, intentionally or unintentionally. It is something that a person goes through i.e., an incident (could span over an extended period of time) or an event that could be adverse, beneficial or profoundly awakening in its outcome.
The next step is to understand the following idea as a fact, without a shadow of doubt. It is something that I tweeted about a few days ago:
If you as a person have not developed yourself enough, don’t have the required mental aptitude and do not approach your experiences with the mindset of learning, you will render useless even the most insightful of them.
Experience itself is nothing but an event or an insignificant blip in the entire lifespan of a person. In isolation, experience is hollow and worthless. What gives meaning to an experience is but what one learns from it. The point of the matter is that just by going through an event and ‘experiencing’ something doesn’t give one the right to get the maximum out of it. The onus is on you to extract every ounce of wisdom from the event or the incident, to rightfully call it a learning experience. That’s what we are going to immerse ourselves into with this piece.
Let us now go through each of the worthwhile points that, according to the rational perspective, are essential for optimal learning from experiences:
1 – Never Seek To Win, Seek To Learn.
The ultimate desire of every human being may be to design his/her life that is compatible with his/her own vision. That does not mean that you adopt an attitude that constantly fills your mind up with the idea of winning in every situation and circumstance possible. Instead, one must adopt an attitude that always seeks to learn. It is only through this mindset that you will find yourself able to learn from your experiences rather than actually achieve nothing through pointless victories.
A mind that always looks out to win would end up frustrating itself due to problems that should not even be considered problems to begin with. For instance, in our daily interactions, we sometimes tend to waste our energies getting concerned about social issues that are actually of petty importance. We do so driven by the desire to win that rests at the back of our heads, while what needs to be realized in that moment is the end result of that win, which is mostly nothing but a momentary satisfaction. The opportunity cost is the priceless knowledge that you could have gained from that interaction by preferring to learn in that moment and not to win.
Also worth reading: The Key To Achieve Pure Satisfaction
2 – Avoid Feeding Ideas Already Prevalent In Your Mind.
One can’t go about his life nurturing only the preconceived notions and expect to grow. Attacking your life with that mindset results in narrow-mindedness, barring useful information to enter your mind. By walking on this path, you will block yourself to ideas that don’t match with your present self and, as a consequence, you will become stagnant in self-development. Eventually, all you would be able to get out of your life experiences is something that feeds the ideas already present in your mind.
Such an approach to life destroys your creativity over time. It is the fast lane to get yourself handicapped to learn new ideas, something that is really disastrous for living in this world that changes by the day. If one wishes to stay intact to the opinions already present in his mind, he would only notice those things in his surroundings that complement those opinions or, in other words, he would deny any possibility for personal development.
3 – Stop Looking For The ‘Right’ Answer.
In your life, it is literally foolish to keep looking for that magical right answer, the solution that will supposedly solve all your problems. When you go through an experience, never analyze it with the mindset of looking for the right learning outcome and rather, focus on how it can positively impact your life. Learning outcomes are always dependent on your circumstances and the context in which you analyze your experiences.
What you learn from an experience is not absolute as its application could depend on the situation in which you implement its lessons. You should look for the theme that runs behind the face, the insights that you can gather analyzing between the lines and search for the lessons resting in the undertone of the experience that you go through. That is something that you can sustainably hold on to, molding it in your favor as deemed suitable by the context.
Also worth reading: REVEALED: Why Most Personal Development Advice Doesn’t Work!
4 – Sensible Detachment From The Experience.
Mainly, there are two ways, with implications of their own, to understand this concept.
Due to our naivety, we let ourselves get bogged down by the technicality and the nitty-gritty of whatever routinely happens to us. Whether it is the daily chores, the recurring to-do tasks or the usual adversity going on in our lives, the annoyance involved with such work tends to get the best of us letting ourselves handicapped, yet again, to learn anything of real benefit out of it.
Here, the preferred strategy is to keep the broader picture in your mind at all times, not letting the events of minuscule magnitude disrupt your progress. By staying detached from the very experience that you hope to learn from, you would be able to keep your calm that will result in exceptional learning. It is titled ‘sensible’ detachment because you’re handling two things simultaneously: staying detached and at the same time, learning from that experience that you have sensibly detached yourself from.
The second way is applicable in the extreme moments of your life i.e., extreme adversity or extreme elation. Both the poles hijack your cool and that eventually sees irrationality as its outcome. To detach yourself at such a moment would mean that you would retain the ability to think straight, not getting carried away by your emotions that are charged when you find yourself in such instances. Here again, one must not forget to be sensible by enjoying the moment to its fullest (if it’s a moment of elation and vice versa), while staying away from what causes emotional overwhelming.
5 – Never Overlook the Opportunity to Learn.
Whether you go through an apparently positive or a negative experience, there is always an opportunity to learn from it. You can’t shut the doors down of experiential learning at any moment in time as that translates into a life that has thrown the towel in all too soon. It does not make sense to live a life which avoids challenge, change or adversity and which is void of fulfillment. You can manage to avoid this by keeping yourself open to all kinds of experiences and by approaching every experience of your life with the goal of coming out stronger and a more developed being.
6 – Intentionally Involve Yourself in New Experiences.
Lost in the daily rut of things, it is very easy to find yourself in a pattern recurring daily in your life. Such a life brings the same old events to you, the ones that don’t have anything new to learn from. Then, it becomes the need of the hour to intentionally expose yourself to challenges (or experiences) that hold something that is potentially unique for you. Such experiences open up avenues for you that have been yet unexplored. Repeating this process of exposure to new experiences over and over again will ensure constant learning and personal growth in a consistent fashion, letting you become unstoppable and formidable.
These are some truly effective and time-tested principles of increasing your experiential learning exponentially. These points need to be done justice to by your application in your practical life and they will surely reciprocate with benefits that exceed your expectations.
In closing, I would like to refer you to the point I began this text with: what apparently seems to be an obvious notion is, however, actually something that can alter the course of your life, if acknowledged properly. You can start your first with such a notion that is of experiences right this very day. According to TRP, a shift in approach is in order, towards learning from your experiences. You need to understand that it’s never an experience itself that is of any value but your own ability to learn whatever you can from it.
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