Choose Your Own Adventure - Learning from your past experiences

 
  Hort Snacks - April 2017
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 Life seems to be a bit of a game. In it, everything revolves around TIME. In this instance, I’m not referring to TIME as that finite commodity that we never have enough of, but rather TIME in the sense of EXPERIENCE.

We spend most of our TIME (lives, careers, etc.) blundering through it, stumbling from one EXPERIENCE to the next, doing the best we can in the TIME that we have to spend in that particular moment, before we stagger to the next event.

I might be unique in my own EXPERIENCES, but perhaps not. They typically progress as follows:

  1. Arrive at the event
  2. Not recognize most of what needs to be done and feel woefully unprepared and under-skilled for the task
  3. Blunder through anyways, breaking a few eggs, legs and scratching some paint
  4. Feel relief that this was not a fatal experience
  5. Move onward to the next event, without making or taking TIME to reflect on what I learned from it
  6. Repeat the cycle.

Sound familiar? Probably.

When I was somewhat younger, I enjoyed reading Choose-Your-Own Adventure books. In them, the idea is that you make decisions for the characters (main or otherwise) at different junctions in the book, which takes you different places and changes the course of the storyline and, in many cases, the eventual final outcome of the story. It was fun to freely (and without consequence) jump forwards and backwards through the storyline, seeing what one slight change could do to the life of a character.

Sometimes, in life, after a bit of time and some adverse repetition (through force of habit), it is possible to learn from experiences and become more efficient. When we take a minute to reflect on life and our time spent within it, we quickly recognize patterns and we see where things repeat. We can objectively recognize errors and places where we might have chosen a slightly different path and gotten an entirely different outcome. There are several keys to success in this process.
  1. Take time to reflect (sometimes this means forcibly tearing a chunk of time out of the schedule and MAKING time). Don’t just think about what you’ve experienced, but truly contemplate what worked and what didn’t work.
  2. Write down some notes. Document the positive and negative outcomes.
  3. Make plans for the future, when this type of experience comes around again. In some cases, it won’t look exactly the same but it’ll be similar. In other cases, it’ll be exactly the same, so use the plans made in the calm moments to be more efficient.
  4. Recognize your growth. See when you have made some progress and celebrate a little.

As you look at the potholes that sprinkle the roadway of your life, you need to remember the bumps AND the fact that you have passed them. See the distance you’ve come. Build on what you’ve experienced and keep on moving forward. Take time to reflect and make plans. EXPERIENCE only come with TIME, so make the most of it.
 
 
 
 
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For more information about the content of this document, contact Robert Spencer.
This information published to the web on March 27, 2017.