You are the sum of everything you’ve ever experienced

It can be easy to think that every problem you face has been solved before, or to think that every story you have to tell has already been told. In fact we should all remember, and embrace our uniqueness. People have likely faced similar situations before you, but no-one has ever stood in your shoes.

Our experiences in life give us the tools we need to navigate the present. Even without intentionally realising it, the person with 20 years of experience have more tools to help make decisions than the person with 6 months of experience. Maybe you haven’t helped this child to stop crying after this particular fall but you have helped others. Or maybe you haven’t had to decide on the best restaurant in this particular city but you have chosen restaurants before. Work is the same, people fight, get upset, or want it to be different. Years of experience can help you navigate each unique, but comparable, situation because you can see the similarities, or patterns, to previous situations.

The problem is we very rarely seek out patterns or experiences intentionality. Instead choosing to let time provide us with the experiences we need. Imagine if there was a way to fast track this process! You could gather up years and years of experience and have them right now!

Here’s the thing. You can.

We see the world through the many veils of our previous experiences. Every time you feel something, see something, do something, or even hear something you add another layer to your view. That means that every book, article, even tweet you read is contributing something to your world outlook. Instead of needing to actually experience every single problem or situation you can take a lot of someone else’s experience and layer them in with your own.

“The only true voyage would be not to travel through a hundred different lands with the same pair of eyes, but to see the same land through a hundred different pairs of eyes.”
— Marcel Proust

So if you want to be better at your job then you need to intentionally seek out more experience. Some of it will come with time but most will come by actively learning about other people’s opinions and experiences and using them to enhance your own thinking.

Rather than aspire to be the person with the most years experience we should all be aspiring to be the person with the richest world view.

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