This may be one of the most valuable ideas I have shared here. It’s about how to get the most from your life and stop the days from passing you by.

A year older or a year better?

It starts with an understanding that everything we come into contact with, has an impact on us. It changes us. It adds to our bank of experiences.

  • As creative people, we know that the greater our bank of experiences, the wider our pallet of colours becomes, allowing us to create across a wider spectrum.
  • As human beings, we know that the greater our bank of experiences, the more we get from life.

Visiting or experiencing?

There’s a huge difference between visiting Paris and experiencing Paris. People often take a holiday in Paris, electing to eat the same food as they have at home and drink in bars, frequented by fellow tourists from their home country. They visit tourist traps, where they connect with people from ‘back home.’ They watch their favourite TV channels, via the Internet.

They may have a stamp in their passport to say they visited Paris, but they certainly didn’t experience it.

The art of experiencing

Think of walking through a stretch of woodland.

Someone visiting the woodland, rather than experiencing it, could be listening to music or consumed with thoughts about work, home, their past or their future. Whilst their body is physically there, amongst theĀ flora and fauna, they are not connecting with the sights, sounds and smells around them. They walk through it or maybe more accurately, they walk past it.

Someone experiencing that stretch of woodland, rather than visiting it, would be focused on their immediate surroundings. They would stop and take time to notice the sounds around them. They would touch the bark on the trees and touch the leaves, to get a tactile experience of the textures around them. They would focus on the different colours that make up the immediate landscape. They would notice the way the smells around them changed, as they walked past different shrubs and features.

They would leave the woodland, with a deep feeling for what they have just experienced. Their senses would have been filled with the richness of their surroundings. They would have experienced it. Really experienced it!

Switching your autopilot off

Much of what we do from day to day is done, as if we were on autopilot. Most of the daily challenges we face, can be handled with little real effort. As a result, we spend much of ‘the present’ thinking about the past or thinking about the future, but not experiencing the now. That lack of deeper, deliberate interaction with our present, leads to wafer thin experiences.

The challenge with using that autopilot setting too often, is that minutes, hours, days, weeks months and then years can pass us by, with us gaining little by way of experience – if we allow it to.

Wherever you are, be there!

Thankfully, you get to choose what you focus on. So, make today the day, where you start experiencing more of the world around you.

For example:

  • Use your senses to gain a deeper connection with your environment.
  • Wherever you are, be there – really be there.
  • Whoever you are speaking with, give them your full attention.
  • Whatever you are doing, connect with it using as many of your senses as you can.

Invest in your bank of experiences today, then repeat it tomorrow. Watch your bank increase in value, as you become a day better every day and not just a day older.

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Jim Connolly

I'm passionate about sharing ideas, insights & resources, to help people think more creatively. You can subscribe now for free & get future articles delivered to your inbox. I respect your privacy.
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