Life is an experience. That may seem like a “doh” statement, but yet, knowing this can make a huge difference in how you go about your life.
It’s easy to get fixated on things or status. I may say:
- I want to lose my weight:
- No, what I really want is the joy of living in a healthy and strong body without illness, and
- The experience of feeling confident about how I look.
- I want to be rich:
- Actually, what I want is the experience of being able to afford things without worrying.
- I want a better job:
- What I really want is the experience of creating things that make a difference in people’s lives, using my creativity and collaborating with people I like.
Knowing this is helpful in a few ways. It prevents me from getting attached to particular ideas. Getting fixated on specifics keeps me away from being flexible and being open to opportunities I didn’t consider before.
If I know that what I’m after is an experience, my mind opens up to myriads of ways to create it. I don’t truly need millions to feel like I’m worth millions. I can create the experience of richness and abundance with just a few bucks, or without money at all. It’s also possible to have a lot of money and still don’t feel rich. (I know this because I now make the amount of money I previously considered enough but I often don’t feel that way.) Then I will have missed the point.
The experience of living in a healthy body or having a romantic relationship may seem like you actually have to have them in order to experience them. But knowing that it’s the experience you’re after will help you decide how you want to pursue your goals. For example, I used to feel guilty about days when I didn’t exercise. I thought I wasn’t working hard enough, I thought achieving my goals as quickly and efficiently mattered the most. Now I seek out activities that feel enjoyable to me, at a pace that’s challenging enough to be fun but not stressful. I switched from going after a state (weight at ### lbs, waist at ## inches) to enjoying the experience of moving my body. I may not be creating results as fast (or not at all), but the overall life enjoyment increased.
Life is an experience, what matters more to me is not what I accomplish but how much time I spend having good experiences. Or to put it another way, it’s more important to enjoy life than to produce results in the most efficient ways possible. This has been a big paradigm shift for me, I’m still discovering all the places where this concept applies.