You might have heard that experience opens up more options and this often relates to the career aspect of our lives. But there is more to this than we are sometimes led to believe and it has an impact on more than just our work.
Past experience where skills are concerned of course give us more career choice, I totally agree with this, 100 percent. This is why the older we are, the more work opportunities are open to us, because we have done more.
The same thing applies to personal life. Our past experience and skills we’ve learned allows us to build better relationships right?
What we frequently don’t consider though is the value of new experience and the plethora of possibilities this brings.
Let me explain.
Mihay Csikszentmihalyi reveals in his book called “Flow” that we are exposed to 2 million bits of information per second. Now I don’t know about you but if I was consciously aware of that much information in one second I would go into massive overwhelm. And all humans are the same; we would all go insane.
Our brain is an amazing organ. And there is a small but highly effective part of it, (I won’t go into the science of it right now), that filters information. It only allows us to see what we need to be aware of to survive.
And here is the important part; it filters based on past and present experience!
So, if we don’t have new and different experience then we won’t see any new information.
Astounding isn’t it! I’ve always found that fascinating. It’s determined how I’ve lived my life ever since I first read it years ago. And it has impacted how I coach my clients too. It’s also a topic that I speak on frequently.
This means if you don’t try new things, then you won’t see new opportunities. And that’s even if they’re right in front of your nose.
Are you getting the picture?
You will have experienced this at some point. The analogy that is often shared to illustrate it is when you buy a new car. Before you actually looked at the car, you never saw that many of them. But after buying it, you see so many cars that are the same as yours. And it’s not that everyone is copying you, it’s that you’ve changed the way you filter information. This is because you’ve had a new experience.
So how can we use this knowledge to create a steady flow of opportunities? Because lets face it, so many of us don’t see them flow in too often.
Create a new experience to do list
Sounds simple doesn’t it, but too many of us pause and wonder what on earth to put on that list.
My partner and I do this at the beginning of each year. We create a list of new things we’d like to do together. After writing our own lists we swap them over. And we choose something from each other’s list once a month. This is great for relationship building, but you can also write a list just for yourself too.
Think about all the things you have been interested in or curious about but never done. You can include things you started doing and then stopped because you didn’t have time. Start writing a list and you will be surprised at what comes to mind once you begin.
Read new books and do courses
Opening ourselves up to new information by doing courses and reading books is powerful. And it’s essential that we let go of the thought that it needs to be constructive for work, because it doesn’t.
You can do a course or read a book about anything that you’re interested in.
My brother in law went back to university and did a degree in history after he retired. He did it because he was interested in it and that was the only reason. That was a huge new experience to open up his retirement. And he continues to do lots of new things that keep him active and involved in community.
Again think about what interests you or what you would like to know more about. Jump on the internet and have a look, that’s something I often do if I want to find a course. Go into a bookshop and allow your intuition to guide you. I guarantee a title will jump out and grab you.
Implement at least one thing you have learned
This is key if you want to build a continuum of new opportunities.
By reading and doing courses we of course create new experience just in that activity. But if we fail to implement anything we’ve learned, it’s useless and we eventually forget it.
Just by implementing one thing we create another experience and that builds momentum. Plus it helps grow confidence in our capabilities, which encourages us to act on the inevitable opportunities that arise. This also builds our self-esteem.
Make a plan to take at least one step and notice what comes from it. Remember Lao Tzu’s famous quote, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with one single step”.
Revision and revisiting creates even more new experience
The concept of revision reminds me of school and revising before exams. Yuk, not my most favourite of experiences! But it works right?
If you remember back then by revising we were able to bring to mind things we had forgotten. Or even what we hadn’t noticed the first time around.
And it’s the same with revisiting courses you’ve done and books you’ve read in the past. If you’ve ever done this you will know what it’s like when you re read a book. It can often feel like you are reading a new book, because you don’t remember seeing certain bits of information the first time around.
This is because the human brain can only absorb around seven chunks of new information at a time.
Once your seven chunks is absorbed then you find it difficult to take on more. By implementing what you have learned you create more new experience. So by the time you read the book again, you are ready for another seven new chunks.
It’s really cool when you get this and start practicing.
The bottom line is this
If you want to change or improve any aspect of life then you need to create a consistent flow of opportunities.
It’s not just past experience and the skills that you’ve built that open up new possibilities for you. In fact it’s the new experiences that really do determine how many opportunities you see. And I think this is really encouraging for anyone who thinks they’re not experienced enough or don’t know enough, which incidentally is simply not true.
The key then is to make sure you seize opportunities when they arise. Please don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.
Sometimes we find it difficult to see the wood for the trees even when it is right under our nose. Coaching with a good coach can assist you in finding the answers that you need to move forward and create the life, business or career you desire and deserve at any time of life. Book your complimentary Clarity Call HERE to gain insight into options open to you.