You can borrow time.
You can borrow money.
You can borrow knowledge.
Truth be told, in today’s world, there is almost nothing that can’t be borrowed.
Except for one very, very, very important thing:
No matter how hard you try, you can never borrow experience. You can read about other’s experiences. You can read about how to improve your experience. You can read about all types of adventures that people have lived through.
But you’re the only one who can live for yourself.
Death to living vicariously
There are many people out there who CAN and WILL hold your hand when you’re going through a tough time. These people are heros, and they empower us.
But other people can only take you so far.
YOU are the only one who you get to be. You will not be anyone else for the duration of your entire life. In an interview that I had with Comedian Melissa Villasenor, she mentioned that social support can only take you so far. I agree. Other people can help you out tremendously, but if you don’t actively seek out new experiences, the support will be for naught.
You don’t get butterflies in your stomach from reading about scary things. You get butterflies from DOING scary things.
What scary things are worth doing?
1. Social Challenges
-Talking to strangers in person
-Talking to new people on Facebook Chat
-Calling friends who you’ve lost touch with (when I think of a person that I want to call/get in touch with via Phone/FB Chat, I write it on a sticky note with a deadline. Otherwise, it will slip right out of my mind.)
-Sending an e-mail to your friends/colleagues promoting yourself/an article (I have done this once; it made me very uncomfortable, but the results were good).
2. Mental Challenges
-Spending time researching a random topic (a particular time in History, a scientific principle, math, etc.) and write a paper about it (this is more long-term).
-Writing a detailed blog post RIGHT NOW on any given topic that you feel like writing about (seriously, it would do wonders if you stopped reading this post and wrote the blog post. Let me know how you fared in the comments!)
-Taking a course at The Saylor Foundation
3. Physical Courage
-Exercise at least 5 days a week. I do this, and it is a habit that I intend to live out the rest of my days with. Ballet and Weightlifting. Basketball, Exercise DVDs! I like to seek out different exercises on purpose, just to make my body feel uncomfortable.
These are just a quick recap of some of the ways that you can really accumulate those experience points. I assure you from my own personal experience; everything that I have listed above is WORTH DOING. Some more than others. Experiment to find the right tasks for you, and then keep doing them.
Remember: People can only guide you in the right direction.
After that, the ball is in your court.