Are You Exchanging Cold Comfort for Experience?

24 hours of driving, 3 gatherings with my wife's old high school classmates, 1 business meeting about becoming a spokesperson for a new high-tech product and 2 video shoots, 1 as a "Featured Extra" in a music video shot late Sunday night on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles.

That was my week… and it was SO much fun.

Yesterday during my 10 and half hour drive home to Ashland, Oregon from Southern California I had a lot of time to think.  As my mind wandered from event to event I just kept smiling and smiling and smiling.

Why?

Many of the things that I had just experienced would have been horrifying to other people, in fact there have been times in my life when they would have been so unpleasant that I would not even have done them… and today I absolutely relish the entire experience. Weird!

What is it that converts fear into joy? Apprehension into enthusiasm?

Experience!

Years ago I remember a business owner talking about a couple of employees. Both had been with the company since it opened 5 years before. One he said had "5 years of experience" with the company, the other he said, had "1 year of experience repeated 5 times".

I have never been one to have the same experience year after year. I love variety.

I'm not recommending "my way" I'm simply saying that this IS my way. And it is, at least in part, responsible for how I experience life.

I have long known that I really value being happy and I enjoy making people laugh and smile. I also really like seeing myself as an inspiration to others. These things make me feel more complete, more whole.

In addition I have what I can only describe as an innate desire to "be all I can be". I like myself better when I strive to be more and to do more for others.

What is it that you really value? What makes you feel whole?

Once I recognized these things about myself I started to allow them to have more influence over my decisions and actions. For example I allowed myself (another way to say this is- I forced myself) to take steps, like joining Toastmasters, which I had to do 3 times before I could muster the courage stay in the group long enough to learn what I wanted to learn, which was to overcome my fear of public speaking.

By allowing myself to gain new experiences each year, I have added a depth to my life that I find incredibly fulfilling. By consciously experiencing more (that is by having 40 years of experience in the last 40 years, as opposed to having 4 years of experience repeated 10 times, or 8 years of experience repeated 5 times) I experience joy and fulfillment where I once would have found dread and pain.

Are you seeking the experiences that move you in the direction of your true self, your highest calling? Are you willing to trade cold comfort for change?  Or will you exchange all you can be, for all you are now?

Again, I'm not advocating anything. We each choose our own path and whatever path we choose is as it should be. This is simply what I see from where I'm standing.

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