Have you ever had an experience which gave you new insights and understanding that made a valuable difference to your life?
It fuelled you with inspiration and enthusiasm?
And then you forgot about it?
To me, this has happened plenty of times.
Whether it’s some profound insights while reading books or having actual life experiences which are significant at the time, or receiving frameworks and teachings by fantastics teachers and trainers, unless I purposefully apply myself I tend to forget these things.
Research shows that within 48 hours of learning something once, 80 percent of that is gone within two days.
In other words, unless I actively anchor the teachings and insights these experiences provide I begin to loose those insights within a few days.
And it’s not just knowledge and learning that discipates with time
Enthusiasm and inspiration are known to have a half life… they doesn’t last forever…
Many years ago my teacher said to a group of us that your life’s experiences are your biggest wealth - and urged us to share that wealth widely so that people can grow, transform and make the world a better place.
He made a point of us actively focussing our energy and intentions on gathering a diverse field of experiences, because they are our greatest wealth, and some of the most precious things we can share with others.
He also shared that when you’re around someone who shared their experience, knowledge and energy with you, the moment that exchange is over we start to loose that energy. The inspiration, the enthusiasm, the insights, they start to fade away.
As a change maker, what is it then that you can do to hold on to what your life experiences provide you with? So that you can share your greatest wealth with the people around you to create positive change?
Here are a few suggestions that have worked for me that I can offer you:
- Put some element of your insight and or experience into action straight away. Within the first 30 minutes take an action. Even if it’s just writing the insights down, or putting a follow-up action into your calendar. Act!
If what you’ve learned not actionable what is the real learning? Ask yourself, as a changemaker, how is this going to help me do my work and spread my message?
Look for what is actionable. It is nice to receive knowledge, but if it’s not actionable in some way how much value does it really have?
When it’s not obvious to me how I can action something, a helpful question to ask I find is: how can I make this relevant and helpful for someone else?
And just recently I got a cool new insight that took this to the next level.
A couple of weeks ago I was on trip in Greece. On an island called Naxos, in fact.
A few of hours before catching the ferry to Athens we were visiting the Portara Naxos, which is a huge marble gate with a majestic view over the sea, and it is said to once have been part of a temple to Apollo.
We spend some time there, took some amazing pictures and enjoyed the view and marvelled at the history of the place.
Later that day, on the ferry, my teacher, who was there with us, challenged me by asking how I was going to make that visit to Apollo’s gate significant so that it would be meaningful towards my growth and that of others.
He said that you need to love yourself enough to believe you’re here to create lasting change in yourself and the world around you.
Now, I was fully enjoying the moment when we were at the site, weather was fantastic, I was in great company, we were having fun, it was a fascinating place.
When he challenged me I realised that although I was having a great time I had not been using it consciously as an experience that would serve me and others for growth.
Every moment, every experience is significant he said.
And then he used a fascinating term: He said Fast forward your experience and figure out how you’re going to use this moment to improve life.
Give it a placement in the future.
Is there something about the history of this place that can make a difference to someone? Perhaps the conversations I’m having here. A personal reflection?
Perhaps it is something as simple as seeing a bird soar through the sky which reminds you of the importance of having perspective.
To be clear, asking yourself these kind of questions is totally possible without having to compromise on enjoying the moment or missing out on fun.
Every moment can be used as an opportunity for awakening.
What can I learn here, or how can I use this experience for positive change?
Another question you can ask yourself is What am I going to change because of being there?
This intention and purposefulness will help you to anchor teachings and insights so that you’re better able to retain them.
What really works well for me is to think of specific people I’m going to share something with.
We learn by teaching.
I may be in a talk for example and someone says something and I’ll immediately go Ah! So and so may benefit from that. That in itself, that now I’m not just listening for myself but also on behalves of someone else helps me remain more focussed, alert, and retain the information better.
I will also review it sooner and the thinking about how I’m going to share it, and when, helps the retention.
Another suggestion to integrate and anchor your life’s experience so that it servers you and other is by journalling.
As Jim Rohn said - A life worth living is a life worth recording.
Write your experiences and insights down at the earliest opportunity and regularly review them.
An end of day routine may be useful to establish this as a practice.
I like to write what I’ve learned that day, what I’m grateful for and what I’m looking forward to as part of my journaling routine. I may also add people’s names that I’m going to share something with, do something for, or plan to involve in a project, for example.
Your greatest wealth is your life’s experience. Use that wealth to improve your life and that of others.
Everything that happens can be important and nothing needs to be trivial or irrelevant.
So, give your experiences the significance they deserve.
Now, you’ve just read all of this, how are you going to fast forward what you take away from this post?