Learn and grow through experiences


August 2015

Got nuts?

Yeah, the post title might be misleading. Since I take you on a journey over Nutrition & Energy (mind the cute little yellow icons), I really mean nuts. This question is thus directed to men and women alike. I know we’re not squirrels and don’t need to gather the little fruit to have something to eat for the winter.

Fruit? Yes indeed: Nuts are fruit.

The more important question for you is: Are they healthy? My admittedly blur answer is: It depends. Of course, they’re better for your physical well-being than your ordinary 1 pound Angus steak. Run a field test. Anyway, how healthy are they compared to other plant based food? They come after fresh fruit & vegetables as well as seeds. Why’s that?

First the good news: Nuts contain a lot of proteins & carbs.

They’ve vitamins and minerals en mass. Just ask Google about your favorite sort, its nutritional value and impact on your health. Also, nuts are rich in easily digestible proteins, fiber and carbs. In fact, they’re a very dense food.

And that is the problem: Too much high-caloric food can cause issues

Apes eat high-fluid or low-caloric food like fresh fruit & vegetables. High octane water in fresh fruit & vegetables contains energy and thus supports life. If a chimp doesn’t find greens or bananas, it eats seeds as a dietary fallback. Seeds contain premature life. They’re dense too yet healthier than nuts. Learn from our closest relatives in the animal kingdom: Eat nuts in moderation. If you consider them as the foundation of you food pyramid plus drink too less, you might face digestion problems eventually. Note to myself: I need to manage my secret sin of peanut-banana-shakes more tightly…

Bottom line, get nuts and enjoy them. They’re great travel snacks. Yet always treat them as such. Keep your balance in an ExperienceZone fashion.

Do you still exist or already live?

Many people nowadays spent most of the time in their comfort zones. Subconscious actions dominate our days. Especially during the week, we’re like hamsters spinning our wheels. I recently experienced a moment of awareness after I completed a series of tasks almost automatically. It was in the morning, when I recognized that I got everything prepped for the day  including filling up my body with – of course – a healthy breakfast. Yet where did the last hour go? Creepy, since I didn’t feel a glimpse of consciousness in my busyness. Rewarding, since I recognized that I can peak perform without any intentional interference.

“Existing” is our cosy starting point

At ExperienceZone we define existing by being in your comfort zone. It’s the luke warm area, in which you function just well. A great place to check off daily duties. In this space you run routines. Behaviors, that are written on your mental or even muscular hard drive. You don’t need to think about them anymore. Everything happens subconsciously. Great as this ensures in time and quality delivery. It provides reliability, predictability and thus certainty. Take “brushing your teeth”: Do you deliberately think about which tooth or corner of your mouth comes next? Most people don’t. They just habituated the sequence, intensity and length of their morning hygiene program.

Don’t sacrifice life quality on the altar of convenience!

There’re two risks attached to chilling in your comfort zone:

  1. You prevent learning opportunities. Learning happens in your experience zone. This is the area just outside your comfort zone, in which you try new things. Through trial-and-error, you’ll make mistakes and thus learn stuff. This makes you grow, more flexible, and wiser. Since we’re designed to grow (not only physically until adulthood but mentally and emotionally throughout our whole lives), we can only become happy if we tap into our experience zone.
  2. You tend to switch off your consciousness. This can make you loosing track of time. The downside of doing things in a robot-manner is that you aren’t in the moment with all senses. Yet research has shown that awareness of the “here-and-now” is a key to happiness. So if you want to practice mindfulness, you need to either leave your comfort zone or force yourself to perform internalized tasks consciously. This can be a fun exercise.

How do you find the right mix?

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach. In order to master your life, you need to be able to switch between both areas – comfort and experience zone – effortlessly. Here’s the approach which worked for me:

  1. Identify tasks, which you can and should perform subconsciously. Those are usually the ones which you’re engaging in for a long time and which aren’t challenging by nature.
  2. Write a bucket list or – even better – define your aims in life based on your mission. Those should contain things which you haven’t done or don’t posses yet. Next to audacious goals, write down small things you always wanted to do but always found excuses not to. In general, I recommend you to try out something new every week. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want you to go bungee jumping next Sunday. Just contemplate about those things you always found interesting or even exciting but never took time for. Especially activities, which cause irrational fears are most precious to uncover, as they bear the largest learning opportunities.
  3. Last but not least, do it! Don’t procrastinate. There’s magic in immediate action. I promise that you’ll an rewarding feeling straight afterwards. You’ve done something for the first time. Congrats and way to go!

Who really owns your career?

Why do you go to work: To earn money? To have something to do? To receive recognition? Many peoples’ careers are like rocket chairs: They keep them busy but lead to nowhere. Why’s that? Because they don’t take ownership. Instead folks just go with the flow. “Well, I became a dentist because my father was one…” Nothing against being a someone who repairs others’ teeth, yet I invite you to question the decisions in your life as well as their reversibility. You can always adjust the course. That requires you to embrace one golden ExperienceZone rule:

Only you own your career, which is as dynamic as your passions

How do you put these condensed truths into practice? First understand them and their implications. Let’s slice and dice it:

  1. You own your career. Yeah, your partner might have a stake in it. Though bear in mind that you’re tasked to do what feels right to you. Nobody else can know that and take that burden off your shoulders. Your boss might promise to support you. Yet at max she can do is open doors. You need to choose which one you want to go through.
  2. Your career is dynamic. In the 20th century, we had these “from the cradle to the grave” employment relationships. Your grandfather might worked for his company from his internship till retirement. That concept doesn’t hold water anymore. Meantime, the world became more complex and versatile. Hence, replace predictability with opportunity.
  3. Your passions guide the way. It might sound corny yet is so true: You’re designed to do what you love to do. Why’s that important? Your passions emerge from love. Love is an emotion. It makes you move. The more you move the better you become in something. One day you’ll accomplish mastery. This way passions translate into strengths. They create your contributions to the world and value to others. That’s what people are willing to pay for. Got it?

So, how do you jump on the driver seat?

Next you want to take action:

  1. Run a personality analysis to gain clarity about where you’re coming from, who you’re and where you’re going to.
  2. Decide to live a fully self-determined life going forward.
  3. Check your attitudes. Align them towards success
  4. Define your mission. The individual reason for you to be on this planet.
  5. Set at least one aim in life in each area. Pursue those relentlessly.

In terms of Career & Financials, embrace the concept of life long learning. Also, check if you’re still on track by digging down to your passions. Make sure that you build your career based on solid ground and aligned with your mission. Update your resume on a quarterly basis and go interviewing to stay in shape. The more you sweat in peace the less you bleed in war.

Fun is your life compass!

Try to reminisce some moments from your childhood or teenage years: Which ones do you remember? Most likely those of excitement, joy or love. You may also recall anger, disappointment and losses. Why do you think that is? Because you tag emotions – love or fear – or derived feelings to memories. Emotions are those inner allies, which trigger actions – internally and externally. They make you experience things and turn these into memories in hindsight. That’s one of the fundamental truths we leverage to learn and grow together at ExperienceZone.

When boy meets girl…

…or thought meets emotion, they make feelings. Emotions are their mothers. They’re rooted in your gut. Your enteric nervous system (ENS) or gut-brain produces them. There are only two emotions: Love and fear. Love is focusing on what you want. Fear is focusing on what you don’t want. Both cannot coexist yet do emerge in various intensities. Thoughts are the fathers. They represent the analytical male energy, which contextualize and evaluate emotions. Once that happens, feelings arise.

Fun is a feeling caused by love and mental awareness of the very moment.

Fun, pleasure and joy represent harbingers of great experiences. The more you dive into them, the more likely you’ll remember these moments on your deathbed. At the same time, they give you feedback: “Way to go! You are on the right track”. Track to where? Towards living your mission and accomplishing your aims in life. Latter represent the milestones towards your dream future. Your mission is the north star you want to follow. Joy is the compass which confirms you the right direction. Do more of the things you love. They’re usually based on your passions. The crazier you’re about something, easier you’ll be able to truly master it and the better you use your lifetime. Always bear in mind that you’re only a few decades on this planet. Life is too short to do things you don’t love. Yet many people apparently think they live forever (or that they got a second life in their trunk).

What happens if you only seek pleasure?

Life is about balance though. Don’t only rely on your compass. It might lead you astray. Especially the outside world bears many temptations. I used to be a hedonist par excellence. Party, girls, and everything else you can imagine a big-city-boy is after in his wild years. Yet I experienced that one-sidedness leads to emptiness. Especially without having defined an individual reason for existence. So know what you want. Then go after it. Some challenges might arise. Consider them being extra weights the universe puts on your dumb bells. It only wants to make you stronger and trusts you to lift them.

Work out every day!

We at ExperienceZone are all about discovering new things and turning them into habits. Of course, only those which fit our life-styles and support our missions. Every morning I get up to engage in deep breathing, grounding, yoga and strength training. This routine only takes 10 minutes and ensures the best start into my day. Why is that?

Pump up you body.

Sports & Relaxation are two ends of the same scale: Physical exercises. Sleep and mental techniques, like meditation, make your body relax. They regenerate your cellular system and make you gather energy. Latter you can use when needed. Thousands of years ago we got into fight-or-flight situations, in which a relaxed body ensured quick decisions, explosive power, and endurance. In our modern world, many of us are not forced to perform physical exercises. This is the problem. Our muscular system, which is designed to frequently release kinetic energy, degenerates. Hence, we run into gyms. Yet those usually fill up in January and empty in February. Reason being, we feel overcome by events and thus find excuses why we cannot work out today. One resolution might be home workouts in the morning. Upsides are that you flex your body straight after sleep and operate in a very time efficient way. Chances are that you successfully craft and habituate an effective physical workout program.

Find the right mix.

Strength, balance and flexibility. This is what yoga is all about. Together with bio-energetic exercises, it preps me for my day – physically, mentally, and emotionally. There are hundreds of other workout types though, which you can integrate into your daily work out. Do you like endurance sports? Go for a run or jump on your bike! Do you want to get stronger? Grab some dumb bells! Most important is that you develop a program, which fits your needs and you can run on a daily basis. Best case in the morning outside or at least with the window wide open. This ensures that enough oxygen gets into your lungs and brain. You will soon feel awake and mentally refreshed. Take a cold shower thereafter and tackle your day!

How communities can make you successful

Picking up on the article Why are we happier in company than alone?, being in groups make us feel better yet also more successful. You are part of different communities. They represent groups of human beings established for various reasons. From large ones such as humanity, over society to small ones such as your neighborhood chess club.

Why are communities essential to our lives?

Evolutionary, we are gregarious animals. We found families and are committed to larger groups as well. In stone age, hunters went out together. They joined forces to circle the target and thus increased the probability to kill the animal. Gatherers too teamed  up. Younger members learned from older ones which fruit & vegetables are eatable and how to prepare them. Experiences and wisdom got refined as well as passed on for generations.

Why are you more successful in a group?

In contrast to many other species, human beings are able to learn from the experiences of others. Ok, this ensured survival. Yet is this also a receipt for success? Yes.

If you can build up on others’ experiences, say you learn from your peers that requesting a decision from your boss via mail doesn’t really work, you try to pitch her verbally. Since she’s apparently a listener rather than a reader, your ask might resonate with her and she might be more likely to take action upon it. Hence, building up on what doesn’t work is a great way to accelerate trial-and-error-loops.

Also, having a social network of experts allows you to tap into the common multiple of knowledge. This increases the chance that you get a better answer quicker than via conventional sources, such as your local library or even Google. You might be smarter than me but not smarter as us. The swarm intelligence is certainly a great lever of groups. I just read an article that especially open networks are a great success predictor. Of course, it is risky to engage with a heterogeneous bunch of people as you might be perceived as an outsider to many. On the flip-side the diversity bears huge opportunities of different ideas, viewpoints and knowledge you can utilize to accomplish your goals.

So, how do you best interact in communities?

Know which communities you belong to. Some memberships are for life, like your race (you cannot brush off your skin color). Others you can exit if they don’t support your aims in life. Therefore you want to check which ones are aligned with your mission. Then you can evaluate what you can contribute to their objectives and how they can help you. Engage with people who you admire and can learn from. Surround yourself with inspiring and empowering people. Yet know that you need to first give before you can ask for favors. Your gifts need to be high-quality. Become interesting to others! Finally, be aware that sheep-behavior can be dysfunctional at times where you want to be innovative. Always say what you think and stick to your guns. You are valuable because you and your opinion are unique.

Why are we happier in company than alone?

For many years I went through life with a helmet on my head, a shield in front of my chest, and a sword in my hand. Hell ya, I slayed a lot of dragons. Seen great places. Traveled almost the world. Been there done that. Being independent and successful is great. You don’t need to rely on anyone else. You accept full responsibility for yourself. You charge all failures and achievements on your own account. No one is holding you back…

Yet I experienced that we’re gregarious animals.

Ok, you might argue that we aren’t animals at all. Let’s not go down that road but agree that we’re not islands. Instead, we’re social beings. I learned it the hard way. After years of fighting outside dragons and inside demons, I recognized emptiness. Social isolation. Friends lived on their own lives. Got married. Children. It seems like nature designed us in a way that we generate happiness through social interactions. Prove can be found in the animal kingdom. Just go into a zoo and watch our closes relatives, apes, who’ve got a 98.5% genetic makeup match with human beings. These little guys engage in social interactions the whole day! They play games, they practice mutual physical hygiene, they sometimes fight, and have sex.

This world bears a gazillion of opportunities. Let’s take them together!

Learning and growing doesn’t only make more fun but is also more effective in a group. If you share experiences with others, you’ve something to talk about thereafter. It might sound corny, yet if you keep in mind that communication is the glue of relationships, you need to have subjects in store. Go into the park with your family, have a nice dinner with your partner, party with your friends, visit a playground with your children, and spend some quality time with your parents. Keep your solitude time to read, concentrate and design. Yet have regular touch points with the most important people in your social network every week.

Do vegans really live healthier?

There is barely a social trend as huge as Nutrition & Energy.

Many people nowadays want to find the silver bullet to well-being. The higher the demand, the more divers supply alternatives become. One of the rather traditional approaches is vegan. Vegan means avoiding animal based food. Some take vegan as a lifestyle. They reject anything made of animals. Kudos to them for preventing additional animal suffering and for managing their karma accounts tightly.

Anyway, is vegan healthier than other diets?

One thing is for sure: The lifestyle of a citizen in the “developed world” doesn’t require any meat consumption. There’s an abundance of plant-based alternatives in the supermarket next door. We don’t need to run 10 miles per day to hunt Mammuts (yet some of us do for various other reasons). Also, our houses are warm and cosy, so that we can leave the high-caloric fatty fish to Eskimos. In addition, animal-based fats and proteins as well as milk are subordinate to many plant-based alternatives when it comes to their nutritional values and/or your ability to digest them. Besides: Some studies show that animal products can harm our bodies in the long run (see “China Study”).

Ok, vegan can be more healthy. Yet do vegans really live more healthy?

Many vegans I know have been “forced” into veganism by serious diseases. Although they drop animal products from their diet plans, they still eat a lot of processed food, wheat and sugar. As mentioned, there’re alternatives available and people are inventive. Tofu sausages can taste like meat. Yay! You still “spoil” your palate and have a good consciousness – towards your body and the animal kingdom. Wrong headed: Processed food with artificial ingredients can make you sick in the long run!

Many vegans live unhealthier than people on a “civilized diet”. So what do you need to consider?

The foundation of your food pyramid needs to consist of fruit & vegetables. This is what our closed relatives, apes, eat. They don’t age as we do when eating meat and they usually don’t get sick in nature. So there must be something right about their diet. Since these guys have a lot of time to chew and you don’t want to spend 1 hour over a meal, get yourself a good blender. Put the green leaves and fruits as per a 2:1 ratio in and blend. Voila: Your cheap, fast and super-healthy smoothie. Drink this predigested source of youth and heath 1-2 times a day. For all other meals, try to stick as close to nature as possible. It is already perfect. The more we add, change or take away, the unhealthier it becomes. In terms of mealtime, eat in the morning and at noon. In the evening, you want to practice dinner canceling every now and then. Food quality is generally more important than food quantity. Buy organic regional stuff or go into your backyard for healthy wild flowers. Know which ones are eatable though. Discover the tastes of nature, which are as rich as the ones of life.

What does ExperienceZone offer you?

ExperienceZone is a social transformation game that makes you learn and grow through experiences. It offers countless benefits. Below are the key ones.

You will be able to design your life as per your own preferences.

In ExperienceZone, you start where you are and you go where you want. There are seven areas of life: Nutrition & Energy, Family & Friends, Community & Environment, Sports & Relaxation, Recreation & Fun, Career & Financials and Self-Development. Which ones are is important to you right now? Gain clarity around your status quo and dive into the adventure!

You will receive actionable tips & tricks to improve your current situation

We are all about triggering change. Once you realized that you want to want to make experiences in certain areas, you can travel the respective continent and countries. Also, you might have knowledge about areas which are white spots on our map. Feel free to write a country yourself!

You will complete quests, which move you into your experience zone

Quests are the practical application of your knowledge gained whilst traveling a country. By putting the stuff you read in to practice, you check whether the topic enriches your life and lay the foundation for new routines.

You will be offered attractive deals with huge discounts for event quests

ExperienceZone partners with institutions, which want to provide you great experiences. Since doing new things, learning and growing makes more fun together, we team up. This also leads to attractive deals.

You will get to know like-minded people who will impact your experiences

We are social beings rather than islands. Hence ExperienceZone is designed as a team  game, which enables you to meet inspiring and empowering people. Make those who are on the same mission your travel mates.

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