Tag Archives: Experience

Boldly Speak Your Truth

I remember when I was in third grade. I had a huge crush on my teacher. One day we were doing this math problem, which when I think about it was like those sudoku puzzles that have become popular in the past several years. It was some kind of math puzzle, and she had told the class she was having a contest to see who was the fastest. Because I was madly in love with her, (despite her husband) I was determined to win. I raced through the puzzle, certain that I would be the fastest. I double checked my answers to make sure they were correct. I was about raise my hand when something incredibly unexpected happened. I froze. The room was quiet. I looked around at all my classmates furiously working on their puzzles. The room was silent. Our teacher was looking at us with a look only a teacher can give. My heart was pounding in my chest. I willed my hand to move but it didn’t. I was about to lose my chance to win the love of my third grade teacher.

My other friend, who was in a different class was from my boy scout troop. We would go on these hiking trips once a month, and get to camp out. It was fantastic. I had just joined the boy scouts, and had just been introduced into the world of camping away from parents. It was kind of scary at first, but once we got up into the mountains, it was fantastic. We would hike for a few hours, and then find a nice place to camp. Once we set up camp we would go exploring. Sometimes we didn’t find much interesting, but once we found a rattlesnake coiled up against a rock. Normally my friend is terrified of snakes, but for some reason, out there in the wilderness, after hiking up a steep mountain trail, we were somehow able to feel less afraid. It was kind of like our fear transformed itself into curiosity.

It’s strange when that happens. You see this thing, and if you are not careful, all you think about is the bad things that can happen regarding it. But the secret is when you see this, in front of you, you can become curious. Curiosity is a wonderful thing to have. It can help you discover new things, and figure out problems, and overcome obstacles. All you have to do is step back from your fear, and see this as an opportunity.

Which is what we did with that snake. We didn’t get to close, but we found a long branch that had fallen of a tree. We took turns prodding the snake, and making it strike towards the branch. Naturally, we got in big trouble when we came back to camp. I guess adults in boy scouts get kind of upset when boys go off on their own and play with poisonous reptiles. But it was an experience I’ll never forget. We saw something that normally would have terrified us, but because of our shared experience, we were able to look at this with fascination and learning.

So I finally raised my hand, and if I thought I was in love with my teacher before, wow. The approving look she gave me and the wonderful feeling I felt when she told me I got the perfect answer in front of the class was one of the greatest third grade experiences that day. All from breaking through my imagined fears and boldly speaking up.


Share the Communicating Power of Experience

I have a friend that is several years older than me. I like to hang out with him, if only to listen to his stories. He is a great story teller. I don’t know if you’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting somebody, so that when you listen to this person, you can just sit there for hours and hours listening to this persons go on and on about this and that. Most of the stories this guy tells are from his own experience. But other ones are from other people that he himself has heard stories from. Because he has lived such a long a full life, he never runs out of stuff to say.

Many times he’ll be talking about the war he was in. He was drafted, and once he realized what was going to happen to him, he decided that he was going to make the best of things. So he decided that being a communications officer was his best bet. He didn’t think being a medic was such a great idea, as he said medics have to walk around with a target painted on their back. He said a communications officer was best, because communication is important. And if you are carrying around with you one of the best resources, you are treated with a great deal of respect.

I can remember a class I took once in communications, just for fun. It wasn’t a public communications, which is public speaking. I hadn’t yet learned how easy it was to be comfortable while speaking to a large group of people. I was still in my beginning stages of learning how to communicate well on a one to one basis. Those of you who have been keeping up and like to read my blog on a regular basis will know what I’m talking about. Developing skills in communicating is one of the best skills you can develop. Being able to communicate congruently with power and confidence can be one of the most important things that you can learn in life. The class was a real eye opener for me. I learned about different communication styles that people have, different media through which you can communicate. And most important of all, the simple truth that you can’t not communicate. So it pays to be aware of the message that you are sending. Regardless if you know it or not, people are receiving you, loud and clear.

One of the most interesting things I learned from him was how to throw a grenade. It’s not like in the movies, where you can just chuck it and duck behind a bush or something. Because the pieces that come off it when it explodes go much further than you can throw it. So you need to make sure to stay out of the way when whatever you put out comes back. Whenever you decide to throw out something harmful, you’d better watch out, because it usually comes back a lot stronger than you threw it. It pays to be careful. Of course, my friend is wise enough to only tell stories that took place during basic training, where nobody died. War itself is a horrible thing, and should be talked about in polite, social conversation, when absolutely necessary.

I strongly recommend becoming friends with somebody that has a lot of experience. Not only because it’s fun to share your experience with others, it’s also just as fun to hear them as well. And who could disagree that we could always use more sharing in this world?


Make All Things New

Nothing ever new is invented. Or so they say. And they kind of have a point. Harry Potter has been compared to Star Wars, which has been compared to the Wizard of Oz. The Prophet, by Kahlil Gibran, has been compared to the book of Ecclesiastes in the Old Testament. The Ten Commandments, attributed to Moses, are said to be inspired by ancient laws taken from the Egyptian Book of the Dead.

So what’s the point? It’s been said that when you begin to realize you can never really create something completely new unlike anything that has ever existed, it’s kind of comforting. It takes the pressure of. You can easily relax, because you know that building on previous accomplishments can give you a leg up. Many scientists admit they only have gotten where they are by standing on the shoulders of giants that came before them.

And this brings to light an interesting point about human nature. It can be comforting when you realize that all people have similar needs and desires. When you understand that most people really want the same thing underneath, it can make it easy to discover common ground when dealing with others. That is pretty much the basis of all contract negotiation. Discussing what both parties want, and figuring out to satisfy everybody. And in the end, more often than not, you may realize your needs, which you might have thought were far apart, are actually a lot more similar than expected.

On the flip side, of course, is the simple fact that everybody is different. Everybody has their own unique views and experience. You take several people and have them look at an abstract painting, and they all come up with a different interpretation, based on their own history, experience, and emotions. This can make meeting and getting to know new people one of the most wonderful experiences available. The more you expand yourself to seek and experience new ideas, the broader our perspectives grow to encompass things we never dreamed possible.

I was in a strange city once, talking to a friend over the phone. He was giving me directions on how to meet him the next day for lunch. They were fairly complex instructions, involving navigating a strange subway system, going in and out of multiple exits. The fact that all the signs were written in Japanese (a language I didn’t speak at the time) didn’t help. He ended the conversation by saying something surprising. He told me that because there were several subway lines and exits and landmarks to recognize and navigate, it was likely that I’d become lost and confused. He said “And that’s really awesome, because you can realize the opportunity, AND the excuse to talk to and get to know many people along the way.” Before then, I’d never thought that getting lost could be considered an opportunity.

It’s our differences, and out unique perspectives on the same things that everybody shares that gives us such a wonderful opportunity to experience life in new and exciting ways, even if we do the same things and see the same people every day.

How many ways can you find ways to experience something or someone new, today?