There is a right and a wrong way to “live and learn.”
Most people do it the wrong way, without actually knowing it’s wrong.
What makes it wrong, you ask? Read on.
I wonder how you live and learn.
Let’s start with a story.
Imagine you had an experience with a client or customer.
Let’s say they lied to you to get a discount, or to get different pricing.
Eventually, you find out they lied to you, and you feel frustrated and decide you don't want that to happen again.
As a result, you add a clause in your contract, or you do something to protect yourself.
Then you go on with life, living and learning, thinking you’re doing it right.
Let me share why this is the wrong approach to life.
But before I do that, let’s imagine this scenario played out many more times, maybe dozens, maybe hundreds, maybe even thousands of different life experiences.
All of these micro-experiences result in more self-protection.
Where will this leave you?
Likely, it will leave you closed, guarded to new experiences, or new relationships, or new ways of being and doing this thing called “life.”
Well, because you want to protect yourself to survive, right?
Here’s the flip side.
Tell me about your most joyous and magical moments you’ve had.
Where were you?
What were you doing?
Were you completely self-protected?
I bet your most magical moments were in open space.
Open space where things outside of your control could have happened.
Open space where you didn’t have all your “self-protection gear” on.
I am not talking about moments where you became more logical, or found new “knowledge.”
I am talking about powerful moments that impacted you and left you feeling something that shifted who you are.
You see, if you’re like most people, you get tired of the self-protection gear you’ve added onto your life and as a result you need to escape from it. Call it a vacation, take off the gear, and open yourself up to adventure. Maybe you experience spontaneity, wonder, and novelty that inspires you beyond what you thought was possible.
I am not being critical or judgmental of what most people do. If that’s what works for most people, then that’s great, but I know that way of being does not leave me inspired to exist and thrive in the world. It leaves me tired from wearing all the self-protection gear and trying to protect myself.
Now, back to how to “live and learn” in a powerful way.
Instead of having one experience, and changing who you are or how you live life because of it, have more experiences.
Stop looking for one-off experiences, and learning from them, and start looking for patterns. Maybe not even a few patterns, and maybe not even a dozen patterns, maybe look for hundreds.
You’re probably not willing to do that, because that might require hundreds of failures before you learn a truth. Or even a dozen.
But I can promise you this.
When you learn that truth, your conviction will be unmatched. The truth will be strong. You will feel and understand the truth as strong as you feel and know gravity.
This is the difference between building the foundation of your home in an area prone to mudslides, versus a flat foundation built on the strongest cement.
To be effective in this way of exploring, you must remove all preconceived notions. Remove any thoughts you have about the way things should be, or the way things are, and be open to possibility and a new perspective.
When you are powerful, you understand that you can change the way you see your world. As a result, your world changes.
I have lived life this way, and I write this article not as a thought experiment.
I write it because I know where it has led me.