This morning I was having a great conversation with my friend Mark, a UM professor who helps college students become relevant to potential employers. We were talking about how vivid our memories are in recalling our experiences. That got me thinking about 2 things.
1st – If experiences have a greater impact on our memories, then how can we create more amazing experiences?
2nd – Are the details of exactly what happened as important as the feeling you felt at that moment?
Before I continue on this you may be wondering what does this have to do with living healthier, losing weight, eating better, etc…
This is actually directly related because the relationship you have with yourself, the relationship you have with food, and the stories you tell yourself are driven by how you feel. That brings me back to the 2 questions above.
Question #1: How can we create more amazing experiences?
The more proactive you are, the more experiences you will have. The question wasn’t how to have more experiences but how to have more AMAZING experiences.
I have a friend Johann, that I had the privilege of going on our famous Western Exploration. After graduating from college, Johann and I took 3 months and lived out of a tent and my little blue Hyundai Accent hatchback running the national parks and cities in Florida, Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, Idaho, Oregon, California, Nevada, and Texas. We shared so many experiences yet when he would share a story about our journey to others, I almost didn’t recognize them. In fact I remember thinking, “that was so amazing where was I when that happened?”
Our friends joke that Johann exaggerates stories but I have come to realize that these are truly the experiences that are recorded in his mind. While my experience may not have been so dramatic, I can still feel the amazing experiences of running 10 miles at 6:35 pace on the legendary track at the University of Oregon, Hayward Field. I remember the liberating yet scary feeling of running through the trails in the Rocky Mountain National Park and getting lost for an hour or two with no water or idea where we were. How about meeting the president of Merrill-Lynch in Boulder, CO in a bar and having him be jealous of us, two broke kids enjoying life in its simplest form, running. I remember him telling us, “I have more than enough money to do this trip but I don’t have the time. Enjoy it guys. You will never forget it.” He was right. 🙂
Question #2: Are the details of exactly what happened as important as the feeling you felt at that moment?
Maya Angelou said,
“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
My good friend Alex recently got married. When Christian and I entered the church waiting for the ceremony to begin I was talking to her about who each of Alex’s friends were. There was a guy named Kirk, Alex’s friend that called me when I was at the hospital (that is how I remember him). He is one of Alex’s fraternity brothers (PIKE). I was not in a frat but every time Alex would invite me to one of their parties, I remember Kirk always treated me and made me feel like I had known him for years. On my sophomore year in college something happened that my brain stem swelled up and I was in the hospital for a few days. Low and behold I received a call from Kirk. I have never forgotten that. I am forever grateful for this simple act of compassion.
I don’t remember what I did yesterday but I lucidly remember the way I felt that day I received a call from Kirk. I don’t remember what exactly he said, I don’t remember what I was wearing, what day or time it was but that didn’t matter because the essence of an experiences is sown with the seeds of feeling, nurtured with environment, and appreciated by awareness and story.
Are the details of exactly what happened as important as the feeling you felt at that moment?
No. I don’t believe they are.
Create those amazing experiences one feeling at a time.