I did the daily double today. I hiked for 2 hours in one park after waking up. I then hiked for 90 minutes before dusk at another park.
Me and my wife decided to vacation in the Adirondacks in NY State for the month to gain new experiences. I have never been to such a big, expansive, remote-feeling forest. You better believe I did the daily hiking double today to embrace and enjoy new experiences.
But the old me turned down new experiences. I feared leaving my comfort zone. I also feared wasting my time. What if I didn't like the new experience? What if a new experience triggered some pain or fear in me?
I sat firmly in my comfort zone. Although I avoided discomfort and dodged fear I slowly realized life passed me by each time I turned down a new experience. Death met me a little more each day because I certainly was not living each day to the fullest.
Scrabble Sore Loser…..Or Was I?
The host for the AirBnb where we are staying now set up a Scrabble board game on the back porch for visitors.
My wife gave me an “Uh oh,” look, and winked. 4 years ago in Costa Rica, I flipped out while playing Scrabble with expats. I did not want to play in the first place but did so because I intended to embrace a new experience.
Turns out, the game unearthed self-conscious, embarrassed, ashamed energies in my being. I could not piece together words regularly to save my life but my competition easily seemed to find words seamlessly. My score seemed pathetic. I felt incredibly stupid.
I almost slammed the board game to the floor because I felt like a total idiot, feeling less than. My Scrabble skills and word-finding intellect did not match the skills of the other players.
I appeared to be a sore loser but on a deeper level, I just feared looking stupid in the eyes of some pretty smart people. On an even deeper level, I share this story to show why most people turn down new experiences. Human beings fear looking dumb, wasting their time or feeling awkward doing something new. Surrendering to the fear keeps you comfortable but somewhat miserable and in a constant stagnant or even regressive state.
Seize New Experiences
Life gets better for people who seize new experiences because doing so frees you from one more fear. Embracing new experiences also liberates you to develop new skills, to find new passions and to uncover new things you have fun doing. Soaking up new experiences helps you to learn about yourself too.
I have played basketball, weight lifted and even did some physique modeling progressively up through my early 30's. I tried new experiences like meditating, doing yin yoga and doing Kriya yoga from my mid 30's to the current day.
Being open to and seizing these new experiences allowed me to find energy management techniques resonant with me, improving the overall quality of my life. I also liberated myself from many fears formerly influencing me to charge forward from a panicked, frenzied energy, versus being mindful, calm and present.
A rich, fulfilling, collective human experience contains a heckuva lot more than a small handful of new experiences.