We’ve all lived through good and bad experiences, even embarrassing, joyful, frustrating, and regretful experiences. One thing all these have in common is the ability to teach. All experience is educational. Even when we have done something a hundred times we always have the ability to acquire new information from it. Being an expert does not mean you know everything. For example, did you know that you have to hit the number 57 on the glass Heinz ketchup bottles to make the ketchup flow out easily?
To get the most out of these experiences we need to analyze how we feel about the impact it has on us and our lives. Here are 7 questions you can ask yourself to assist in understanding that impact. My unspoken rule is that all of these questions have a why or why not at the end of it. You need to expand upon your answers to find the truth and depth of your thoughts and feelings.
1. What did I learn?
It’s important to list what we learned from experience because when we write this out in our own words we will be able to see the pattern when it comes back up in your life. For example, if you have learned that you do not like making decisions based on money alone. When you encounter yourself in a situation that you say I don’t want to but the money is good. You will be more likely to remember that you have learned this lesson previously and analyze the new opportunity in a different light.
Tip: Get a journal! You need a space to look back at for all of your thoughts and experiences. Don’t get too worried about journaling every day. Use when you need it but don’t become a slave to it. A journal is something to be of service to you.
2. What am I grateful for?
Gratitude is life-changing. When we acknowledge what is going well we have less time to think about what is not going well. Happiness is present always unless you are looking for it elsewhere
Tip: Watch the Ted talk Want to be happy? Be grateful by Brother David Steindl-Rast, a monk and interfaith scholar.
3. What can I do better?
Self-improvement is what keeps you moving forward. There is no point in going through experiences and not getting anything out of it, particularly if it was a bad situation
Tip: After making a list of what you can do better, make a list of goals to improve those areas. Make sure your goals follow the SMART acronym
4. What part of this does/doesn’t work for me or what I want for my life?
If you love everything about it experience good for you! Keep at it, dig deeper, and let your curiosity roam free. However, if you do not think this will work for you make sure you set up boundaries!! We all need boundaries because it sets up what we allow time and space in our life. You get to decide what does and does not work for your life so do not consult anyone else on this question. Sometimes you may like experience but don’t think you will be able to fit it into your schedule. Explore why you won’t have time for it and you might just come up with a solution to make it work
Tip: Practice saying no!!! Watch The Magic of Not Giving a F*** Ted Talk by Sarah Knight
5. Was it worth it?
There are going to be events that we need to look ourselves in the face and say this wasn’t worth my time or effort. Be honest. However, there will also be times when it was difficult, your struggled but beating your fear was exactly what you needed.
Tip: Read Grit by Angela Duckworth
Effort x talent = skill
Skill x effort = achievement
6. Do I want to do it again?
I recommend trying everything once but sometimes we have a bad experience and the chance at a better experience just might be worth a second chance. Are you curious about a different aspect of the experience? If you tweak it a bit do you think you would find it more enjoyable? For example, I did a 5-day smoothie cleanse and hated it. However, I noticed that three days was a sweet spot for me. I would do a smoothie or juice cleanse but limit it to three days.
Tip: If you are on the fence, schedule a time to try again immediately. The longer you wait the more likely you will continue to procrastinate.
7. Would I do it again anyway?
Can you conquer fears twice? New experiences have a way of being addictive. Just like tattoos, rollercoasters, or skydiving. After the fear of the unknown is wiped away many people find themselves much more willing to participate in experiences they would have said not to before.
Tip: The Man in the Arena
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” – President Theodore Roosevelt
Do you need help processing through your life experiences or trauma? Schedule a free wellness consultation with me today!