What do you gather, experiences or things?
Posted on 18th March 2015 at 07:30
If this sounds like a rather odd question, it isn’t meant to be. Nor is there a “right” answer. As always, all we want to do is get you thinking!
If you still suspect that it may be a trick question, let’s put it a different way. Have you noticed how the modern world focuses on stuff?
On all the things you MUST HAVE to be able to function in this high tech – and image conscious – world of ours. If you’re in any doubt, just look at the adverts on the television or in the papers.
Whether it be the latest clothes, car or mobile phone, the message is the same. If you’re not keeping up with it all, then somehow there’s something wrong with you.
Sadly, it’s easiest to see in children, with countless stories of bullying of those who don’t keep up with the latest fashions. Peer pressure at its worst.
But it doesn’t stop there. It may be more subtle with adults. Instant decisions on someone based on their clothes, car or mobile phone.
What they are like and whether you want to spend some of your valuable time on them or not. If not, usually it’s a cold shoulder, rather than anything more physical. But the pressure is still there.
And what’s the end result? An identikit world, with everyone trying to keep up with the latest fashions. And, of course, you never can. A world of greyness, rather than a colourful one of contrasts.
So here’s a radical idea for you. How about focussing on experiences rather than stuff? On each person’s unique set of experiences, which makes them the person they are.
Just stop for a minute and think about all the experiences you’ve had in your life. The places you’ve been. People you’ve met. Things you’ve learnt – or had to unlearn – as a result. The way you’ve changed and, perhaps, discovered new things about yourself in the process. The journey, rather than the destination.
By their very nature, experiences are personal to you and completely unique. Whatever the circumstance, every one there will experience it differently. Have different memories about it. Different stories to tell.
Go out with friends for the evening and you’ll find that each person experiences it in a slightly different way. Sometimes it can seem as though you weren’t at the same place at all, let alone having the same experience!
Experiences bring out your individuality. They let you evolve into your own person. To be yourself. Rather than being one of the crowd, following the same path; you become an adventurer, making your own path.
Experiences last a lifetime. Good or bad, you can always derive something from them. However disastrous the experience, there are always stories to tell and things to be learnt. In fact it’s often these experiences that have the most unexpected and positive outcomes.
Or there may be the chance meeting with a stranger, which took your life down a completely different path.
Stuff, by its very nature, is transient. Acquiring the latest gizmo may be enjoyable, but how long does the happiness last? Probably until the novelty has worn off. Or the latest fashion has quickly become outdated and forgotten. And then it’s back to the chase, on a never ending quest.
Talk to people and you’ll quickly notice what holds your attention. Makes the conversation memorable. It’s not the latest stuff. It’s the stories they tell about their experiences. The story tellers will always hold our attention. The great raconteurs – and often about the most mundane experiences.
So are we saying that you should shun the modern society and all its material delights? No, of course not. But how about changing your focus? On really being yourself, rather than blindly following all the latest fashions and must haves.
Choosing to have experiences that remain with you forever; rather than more stuff which will be gone in the blink of an eye. Asking whether that new gizmo is really going to make your life so much better; or would deciding to do something new or different make your life so much richer?
We all have things we keep meaning to do or try. It may as simple as going a different way to work or trying a new dish at your favourite pub. Or that round the world trip you’d always wanted to do. And plenty of things in between too.
So why not experiment with a few? The results may surprise you. And, if nothing else, you’ll have some great stories to tell!
As always, the choice is yours.
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