Friday, November 14, 2008

Never Say No to a New Experience

One of my goals is to enjoy as many experiences as life has to offer; not only do you learn a lot but usually you find yourself having a really good time too (or on the opposite side, you have a harrowing experience which means you have a helluva a story to tell once you survive the situation).
There are a lot of ways to find new experiences, one way to do this is to never say no to any invitation...which led me to a tamale factory this afternoon, which led me to helping make about 500 tamales, which also allowed me to practice my Spanish, which also gave me enough tamales to feed the family for the next week and a half. By saying "yes" when someone says "do you wanna...", I have been able to experience an amazing number of unusual situations. Exchange student to Japan? Yes. Skin dive in the South China Sea? Yes. Backpack a good-sized chunk of the Pacific Crest Trail? Yes. Break bread with a group of mercenaries long before Blackwater made them socially acceptable? Yes. Bring medical supplies to a tiny, remote South Pacific Island? Yes. Overhaul an engine? Yes.
New experiences have everything to do with being prepared. They teach you how to be open to anything, how to close mouth and open ears in order to learn from others, how to be flexible in your attitude and your schedule, and often how to improve the way you do things in your normal, everyday life. From backpacking I learned how very little I actually need to survive. From Japan I learned that food can come from many unexpected sources. From travel I have learned that I can survive anywhere. From overhauling an engine, I may not be a good mechanic but at least I have a general idea about engines which makes me less likely to be stranded by the side of the road with a dead car or get ripped of by a mechanic.
It always surprises me when people would rather sit on their couch than go out and do something. When they would rather believe only what they believe instead of listening to the view points of others and allow the possibility that something they learn could actually change their entire outlook on life. When people decline an invitation that could teach them something new, present them with a future spouse, or introduce them to a new career.
The bottom line is to open yourself up to new experiences by taking every opportunity that comes along. Did working side by side with factory workers all day change my life? No. But it did allow me to meet a bunch of new people, appreciate how people work together for a common goal, learn how this tasty product is made, and change what would otherwise have been a boring day of meetings into something fascinating and interesting. Go out and DO something!

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