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Learn and grow through experiences

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learning

Evolve your knowledge to wisdom

Recently, I saw a TED talk about acquiring wisdom instead of knowledge only. Why should you care and how do you make the leap? Let’s dive into this one the ExperienceZone way.

Putting things into context

Everyday our senses are being swamped by piles of data. Our brain does a remarkable job to contextualize and thus transforms data points into information. A price tag paired with a bottle of water triggers our decision about whether to buy it or not. Actually marketing is a corporate function designed for the very purpose to make data relevant and thus generate explicit purchasing decisions in our minds. Best case, it speaks to our hearts instead to our brain only, since especially complex decisions are usually not taken rationally but intuitively. To this end, the add needs to be relevant to our lives (yeah, water vitalizes) plus helps us to understand why that is (well, approx. 70% of our body is actually water) – ideally on an emotional level. As we increasingly relate this the marketeers want us to get hooked up with and understand its additional value proposition (the founders might be up to save the entire rain forest), we evolve our minds from receiving information to being knowledgeable about this company, its mission and resulting products. Knowledge is acknowledging a pattern behind naked information. Furthermore, knowledge requires and generates a certain level of understanding and relation to a particular subject. So far the job of the marketing guys…

Knowledge without application is useless

In the last decade I read around one hundred books. Did the cheer act of inhaling words put into fancy sentences make me any smarter? In no way, shape or form. Well, it certainly helped me to express myself in a specific way nowadays but doesn’t improve my life a tiny bit. In contrast: Book knowledge is a tricky thing. It tends to make you presumptuous. I can tell you in a thousand words how honey tastes, yet it only becomes relevant once you taste it. This is my plea for action. Only once you leverage the stuff you’ve read to help yourself, others or our planet, it turns into value. Until then it’s unused potential. Raw material, which lacks an acid test. Latter turns knowledge into wisdom through application. You try. You fail. You learn. You improve.

How to turn knowledge into wisdom

Some argue wisdom is understanding the principles behind knowledge. I’m going further: Wisdom is the practical application of knowledge – in both ways, failing and succeeding. Failed attempts are actually often a necessary prerequisite for success. No one learned to ride a bike without falling at least onece. No one learned to play the piano without hitting the wrong keys. Thomas Edison admitted to have failed many times until he invented the light bulb. So, how do you evolve to a wise person (unrelated to your physical age)?

  1. Read and watch: There’re two ways to absorb new knowledge. The first one is reading. I highly recommend you to read as much as possible, yet allow time to contemplate and execute thereafter. Read about divers topics. It makes you a well rounded person. Yet do only read stuff you feel naturally drawn to. This increases the chances that you make it through the article or book. After you read, take some time. Either close your eyes, go for a walk or talk with others about what you read. All of these habits ensure that you properly digest the mind food. Then think about how you can put the stuff you’ve read into practice. By the way: Another highly effective way to learn is through imitation. Watch others failing or succeeding. It helps you to build up on their experiences.
  2. Execute upon it: A strategy is nothing without execution. A decision is a choice plus a plan. Innovation equals creativity plus action. In fact, ideas are worthless without trying them out. Effective execution based on a clear intention is one of the most powerful gifts human beings have been granted. Hence I invite you to try things. The only thing preventing you from achieving your aims in life and pursuing your mission is fear. Smart people say fear is the abbreviation of false expectations appearing real. In terms of future states, this is true. So, we need to shake off irrational fears and jump in to the cold dark unknown.
  3. There’re no mistakes: There’s only feedback. I like this one, as it puts things into perspective by pointing out that every expression of reality is subjective. Reality only exists because a subject observes it. Your reality is watched and thus judged by yourself only. Therefore, the meaning you give to events in your life is of utmost importance. If you see every hardship as an opportunity for growth it will unfold as such and deliver long term reward. Only repeating the same behavior although it didn’t bring the desired results can be considered as stupid or insane, as Einstein put it.

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!

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.

What is your experience zone?

Most of us spend 99% of our time in our comfort zones. Eat, work, sleep, and repeat. Days, weeks, months and years pass by. What a waste of time! We only have a few decades on this planet. Let’s use them! So, what do you need to do? Awareness is the first step towards change. Recognize your comfort zone. The functional area, in which you don’t take much risk yet don’t learn a lot too.

Do you want to stop existing and start living? Life begins at the end of your comfort zone. Tap into your experience zone to learn, grow, and become truly happy. Experiences turn into memories in hindsight. What do most people think about on their deathbeds? Definitely not about the money they earned, the houses they lived in or the cars they drove. Rather the people they met, the placed they traveled, and the experiences they made.

Take deliberate steps into your ExperienceZone. Watch out: It is thin and you might overrun into your danger zone; uncharted territory, in which every step could be your last one. Do every day or at least every week something new. Start with small things like using the other hand to brush your teeth or taking another way to work without switching on your GPS. Write a bucket list of things you’d like to do before you die. Or best case create an aims in life folder. Make sure that those cover all areas of life: Nutrition & Energy, Family & Friends, Community & Environment, Sports & Relaxation, Recreation & Fun, Career & Financials, and Self Development. Also, ensure that it addresses all dimensions of being, doing, having, and giving.

Finally, go out and just do it. Jump fear straight in its face. Irrational fears are a great pointer towards the things which you need to do to learn, grow and become happy.

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