The Value of Experience


We’re built for experience. Our senses are always operating. Our bodies love when we interact with our environment. Our minds thrive from the stimulation of experience. We enjoy life when we are involved with it.

Unlike experiences, we get very little pleasure from merely owning something. It doesn’t excite and enliven us to have things sitting in storage, or hidden in the back of a closet, or sitting untouched on a shelf. 

Experiences are transient. They're here and gone. Like I saw a movie this afternoon, and I really enjoyed it. As I was driving home, I realized that the movie was like a dream. I was very involved with it and now it's over. I was now onto the next experience of driving home, listening to music I love, and enjoying the air conditioning.

Sometimes people want to keep their experiences by having some object to refer back to, to remind them of the experience. But that thing is never the same as the vitality that's in the experience itself. Even knowing this, there's still a part of us that wants to hang onto things that we're no longer using. There's a feeling that, "I'll lose something if I let this go."

My brilliant girlfriend Julia just told me an analogy of a person who walks around all day with a bag of one dollar bills because they are afraid of running out of money. They find five thousand dollars on the street and there's no room for it in the bag, so they can't take it. It's like when people start being afraid they are not going to have any more good times, or not remember their experiences, so they keep things to remind them of their past experiences. Meanwhile, new experiences come but they can't take them in because of all the things they are focusing on to remember their past.