We all experience life, but we don’t all live life for experience. I used to simply exist. I used to take what was given to me, positive or negative. I believed to be the way of this life. However, I stumbled across some interesting wisdom in a book called: Man’s Search for Meaning. It allowed my existential thinking to be brought to the surface, and it gave me permission to be me and take control of my life.
Then a question surfaced from this new understanding:
How do my life experiences shape my life? And Can I determine how I will experience life all together? I got some interesting answers from these questions. Here are the 3 ways life experiences shape your values.
WHY we experience life
We have to determine how to effectively approach our experiences in life. Many people gloss over this, assuming that their system is not flawed or biased. This may or may not be true, but it’s worth digging into. How we approach the experience is as important, if not more important, than the experience itself. Then, a big topic surfaces, it is fear of failure.
If we approach our life experiences with the fear of failure guiding the ship, we’ll never get close enough to the shore to anchor and go find the treasure. Yet, if we stay out at sea too long, we will die of thirst and starvation.
So our approach is our dilemma, not the experience of finding treasure. If we take an approach to our life experiences as opportunities to learn and not a threat towards self or ego, we will greatly benefit from life as a whole. Our WHY then becomes to learn, grow, and share.
WHAT we do with our experience
We’ve experienced life. The positive. The negative. Everything in between. What do you do with those experiences? Do you hide them in a shoe box at the back of your closet for your family or next tenet to find once you have moved on or died?
I would hope not.
What we do with our experiences in life is a hard second to the approach. If we are to experience life, why would we not share that with anyone willing to listen? One of the three major missions of our species is to adapt/evolve. This includes growth on various different levels: physically, mentally, spiritually, emotionally, and socially.
Why would we stunt that by keeping our experiences, although similar on the grand scale of things but unique in the story, hidden away from those who may want or need them?
The primary goal of our experiences as humans is to share them, which defines our what.
HOW experiences shape us while we shape our lives
Finally, to answer your original question. Our experiences are an amalgamation of existence. Sensory details alongside critical thinking and connecting unlikely variables creating something slightly new or better than the version before it.
We live to grow.
Experiences either confirm or deny our approach to life, which cycles back to our first point: The WHY.
Essentially, our experiences are the tail end of a feedback loop. If our WHY is offset, then our experiences may return negative, which leads to emotional, mental, and spiritual states we don’t like.
Many of us look to change our experiences in life when we should be changing the WHY and the WHAT of our existence, which will then offer/introduce us to different opportunities to create a positive feedback loop. This loop reinforces our WHY which leads to WHAT which leads to HOW, cycling back to the WHY.
I used to despise failing to the point of pre-studying for college courses. Training for extended hours where the workouts were doing more harm than good to my body. Spending inordinate amounts of time learning and understanding an intimate partner, so I could get told no less and yes more.
The feedback loop on all of these experiences were returning negative in my head, but positive on the WHY that was set. Once I changed my WHY in life, for example: how I approached failure, the loop returned a positive signal, which then fueled me to keep working that loop.
So many of us forget that we have the power to choose. We choose to set our WHY based on someone else’s standards or principles, so we then get what we think is a negative feedback loop, when really it’s a positive for the WHY that’s been set.
Our life experiences can be seen as a feedback loop which in turn negatively or positively shapes our morals, ethics, and values as a human. If we want different experiences, change the WHY and the WHAT, then monitor the loop.
Does your WHY align with your values?
Don’t like it? Change it.
Like it? Invest in it.