Chapter 17: Lessons From Experience: The Thread Weaving Life
“The human mind once opened to a new idea
will never shrink back to its former stature.”-Oliver Wendell Holmes
Lessons of experience
What are the lessons of experience?
It’s every experience in your life,
all the things you’ve seen, heard, touched, tasted and smelled.
They are recorded in the nervous system
and stored in your brain.
Some experiences are taken out by you consciously,
Some are your own experiences,
others are the experiences of others that you have heard or read about.
Many of these experiences are organized to support your beliefs,
to make you certain of the meaning of something.
For example, if you think you’re smart,
it’s because you’ve had some experience that proves that feeling.
We have plenty of experience to strengthen our thoughts:
we are confident or shy, we are selfless or selfish.
It is important that we know
how to expand the store of experiences in our lives.
Try to find experiences that develop your sense of personality and abilities,
and organize experiences so that they are effective.
Read books to nourish your mind
Your experience capital is more than just your personal experience.
You can borrow the experiences of others.
When I was young,
I was used to paying attention to people with experience,
people who were successful,
had a lot of contribution and had an impact on the lives of others.
To learn from experience,
I have read biographies of successful people and learned that,
no matter what background
or living condition they are in,
they always succeed when they master conviction,
confidence and persistent dedication.
I have used their experiences as my own
and have formed inherent beliefs to shape my destiny.
Tap into the endless storehouse of experience in literature,
fiction, myths, poetry, and music.
Read books, watch movies, watch plays, listen to tapes,
talk to others and get new ideas.
Every experience is powerful,
and you never know in advance which one will change your whole life.
Use contrasting experiences
to create perspective for your life
While some experiences enhance your quality of life
and broaden your perspective,
there are also experiences
that show you another side of your life that you don’t want to experience.
But these are also the kinds of experiences you can use to keep your life in balance.
They create a new level of contrast.
Even if there are times when you feel things are too bad for you,
you should remember that there are other people
who have had more traumatic experiences than you.
We can also use new experiences to motivate our lives,
whenever we start to feel complacent.
No matter how successful you are,
you must remember that there are others
who are far more successful than you.
When you find yourself already having talents at the highest level,
you also see people with much higher talents.
And this is the beauty of life:
it pushes us relentlessly to move forward and grow.
I will never forget the impression
I had the first time I met the architect
and hotel magnate Christ Hemmeter.
My wife and I had the honor of being the first to be invited
to a housewarming ceremony with his family in Hawaii,
a $70 million mansion that words cannot describe.
The front door trim alone is worth $1 million.
You might say, “What a waste!”
but it is also a rich experience
if we look at it in terms of business development or economics.
So I compared my $4 million mansion with this mansion.
It was only equal to the front door and the marble steps of the mansion.
Thus in my life,
I still have the capacity to think further,
go higher and imagine richer.
The best part of my meeting with the Christs was that
I discovered that they are very friendly people
and that they use their wealth to create a warm,
human atmosphere that helps them to be creative.
“A man can only be right with his heart;
The eye cannot see the essential.”- Antoine De Saint-Exupery
Think of the worst experience you’ve had.
Looking back on it now,
can you think of a way it could have had a positive effect on your life?
For example, you were fired from your job,
robbed, had a car accident,
but from that incident you learned a valuable lesson,
you have a new decision,
a new consciousness that helps you develop your personality
and grow and add your ability to contribute.
Remember, loss is a thing of the imagination.
Nothing is lost in this universe;
they just transform.
If you’re still feeling pain about something,
it’s because of the meaning you attach to it.
In the meantime,
accept it with confidence, then
one day you will understand the meaning more fully.
Limited experiences make for a limited life.
If you want your life to expand,
expand your experience by exploring
and creating new ideas and experiences.
You have to actively seek them out.
Expand your experience and expand your life
We can always use the experiences life has to offer us,
but we must do this proactively.
The choices I have made in my life stem from a wealth of experiences
that I have deliberately searched for without end.
Every day I seek to expand. In just 39 years of my life,
I have had a wealth of experience of hundreds of years.
Why am I so assertive?
One of the most important ways
I started doing this at the age of 17 was by learning the rich experiences in books.
From a young age I was convinced that leaders are good readers.
Books can lead me to other lands where
I can meet unique people like Abraham Lincoln
or Ralph Waldo Emerson,
so that I can accept them as my teachers.
I am also convinced that through the pages of this book
I can find solutions to almost all my questions.
The most effective way to gain insight into life
and people is to provide yourself with the widest range of choices,
which is to have access to the maximum variety of experiences.
Remember, all the limitations in your life are probably
only the limits of your experience.
So expand your experience
and you will expand your life in no time.
“The only way to discover the limit
of something is to overcome it to go to infinity”-Arthur c. Clarke
We now name some of the most powerful experiences that have shaped our lives.
Take a few minutes now and write down the five strongest experiences
that have shaped you into who you are today.
Not only do you have to talk about the experience,
but you also have to say how it affected you.
If you write down an experience that at first seemed
to have a negative effect on you,
think of another explanation for the experience.
Remember, everything that happens in life has a reason
and a purpose and it all works for us.
Sometimes it takes us years to discover its value.
But every human experience has a value.
As you review experiences that have had a positive impact on your life,
don’t forget to think of some new experiences
that might be valuable and worth pursuing.
What new experience do you need?
A very useful question I suggest to you:
“In order to be truly successful at the highest level,
to achieve what I really want in life,
what experiences do I need?”.
One of the experiences I shared with my family was distributing
Thanksgiving dinners to the needy and homeless.
I will never forget the reaction of my youngest son,
who was 4 years old at the time.
It was Jarek’s first time attending
and our family went to a park in Oceanside, California.
We met an old man sleeping on the floor of a doorless bathroom,
covered in old clothes he’d picked up in the trash.
My son was surprised by his long beard and felt a little panicked.
I gave him the box of food and said,
“You give these foods to the old man again
and wish him a happy Thanksgiving.”
Jarek cautiously approached the old man.
He carried the big box of food into the bathroom where the old man slept,
and gently placed it on the floor.
The old man seemed to be drunk or sleepy.
Jarek touched him and said,
Suddenly the old man rose to his feet and took my son’s hand.
My heart was pounding like it was about to burst out of my chest
and I was about to run back
when the old man took my son’s hand and kissed it passionately.
He whispered, “thank you for taking care of me”.
A valuable experience for a 4-year-old!
Remember, every moment of life makes us who we are.
We must take advantage of it,
pursue and create moments that enhance, not limit, our lives.