How can enriching experiences help you to upgrade your life?
One word with a multitude of facets, different characters, and unlimited choice of outcomes.
I wish I had known the positive side of “experiencing” sooner, but only at the age of thirty-one I intentionally emerged myself in the actual Experience that ultimately upgraded my life—traveling abroad solo, a single (divorced) woman with one suitcase, a backpack with a camera and laptop, one way-ticket and only three thousand dollars on my bank account. Barely speaking Spanish, I traveled around Spain for a month and finished that trip in Cancun, Mexico, where I stayed for the next nine years. It was an enriching experience that resulted from several previous years of personal growth and other challenging-nourishing experiences.
It’s never too late or too early to have an enriching experience. Depending on our background and cultural values, we need different experiences at different points of life. But one common thing – we all need to experience because that is the core of the action – essence of life.
What is Experience?
The meaning of Experience (verb): 1 – is a process of living through an event or a series of events. 2 – Experience practical contact with and observation of facts or events/an activity one has performed.
I understand Experience as an active and conscious process of doing something.
Research conducted by Asst. Professor of Marketing and Psychology at the University of Texas at Austin Amit Kumar (Ph.D. in Social Psychology from Cornell University and A.B. in Psychology and Economics from Harvard University) and published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology shows that investing money in experiencing rather than just having/owing something (possessions) make people much happier.
In a context of a “Fine Art Lifestyle,” experiences can be the following: going to a museum or theatre, visiting a gallery, looking at classical Art, educating yourself, going to an art studio (painting, theatre, pottery, sewing, etc.), buying a piece of Art, work on your personal style, keeping organized house, workplace and mind, practice being more visible, working on staying mindfulness and other experiences that offer an elevated (positive) vibration.
It’s never too late or too early to have an enriching experience. Depending on our background and cultural values, we need different experiences at different points of life. But one common thing – we all need to experience because that is the core of the action – this is life.
What is an enriching Experience?
Enrich means to improve or enhance the quality or value of, to add beauty to, to make rich or richer, especially by adding or increasing some desirable quality, attribute, or ingredient.
Enriching experience is an experience with a firm intention.
Enriching experience is an active process, and that’s what you live through in reality. And a “borrowed experience” – is when for example, you watch a Youtube video of a travel blogger, and you perceive it as like you have been traveling.
Do you want to upgrade your life? Then, you need to activate your growth mindset, directly connected to what you experience daily. You have to upgrade the quality and sometimes even the central theme of your experiences. And by doing that, you will stimulate neuroplasticity – a brain’s ability to change and adapt as a result of Experience.
“Today, we define prosperity, being wealthy, we think it’s great to be able to pay people to do things, and be more automated and maybe just sit in our chair and press buttons. But I don’t think that’s the way our brains define prosperity. The richest scenario is a scenario in which a brain is an active player. When we engage in an experience, we are using certain areas of our brains, and if they are used in association frequently, they will build what we call neural networks. And so, you become more proficient and more efficient with these behaviors. But newly formed mental natural pathways are fragile, so repetition and practice are essential for a new brain map.” Kelly Lambert, behavioral neuroscience, University of Richmond.
Enriching experiences are meant to enhance the quality of your life – upgrade it.
Here are some stories from my personal life experience to better illustrate how it works.
In 2005 I graduated from Saint Petersburg University of Culture and Art with a Master’s Degree in Art. But I didn’t know where exactly to apply for my degree, and I changed several jobs over the next two years. In 2007 after long research and journaling my thoughts, I concluded that I love taking photos. Wherever I was, I always had my compact camera with me, and at every friend gathering, I took photos. A little after that revelation, I started learning about technical aspects of photography and invested in upgrading my camera from a compact Nikon Coolpix to a professional Nikon D70. Next, an engaging process of exploring the artistic side of photography positively influenced my personal life. Until that moment, I thought of myself as just a merchandiser working in a store (similar to Walmart). Since then, I have been on my way to becoming a professional photographer, thus an artist. And that required a change-upgrade in the immediate environment. I redesigned the room where we were living with my first ex. Evolving in my photography skills and starting my own solopreneur business led to a more significant upgrade – leaving an abusive husband. And as a result, I experienced incredible personal growth and an increase in feeling happy.
My international Experience.
In 2009 I began working at the hotel Holiday Inn in Saint Petersburg, which receives many international tourists yearly. The city where I studied at University and lived for eleven years is a popular travel destination. I was very excited to work there, though, in the beginning, I faced many challenges, one of which was speaking English. I have been learning that language since I was five years old, but I never had good speaking practice. Working at the hotel at the reception and later as a concierge changed that. Being exposed to international tourism and communicating with people from around the world significantly improved my perception of life. I realized there are so many opportunities outside my own habitual reality! The world is too big and exciting to always live in one city, and there is so much to learn from different cultures. And I concluded: “I want more from this life!” Those revolutionary thoughts led to my life-changing travel experience in 2013.
I use the world revolutionary to emphasize the level of influence of those thoughts. I was born in the former Soviet Union, a country that was doing its best to maintain communism, and dreaming about traveling abroad and leaving that country was considered inappropriate and automatically made you a bad person and almost a traitor.
My solo travel experience.
I didn’t know how to do that until I tried and experienced traveling solo. I didn’t know how to find the best airplane tickets and book hotels until I experienced that alone. I didn’t know how much courage I had until I experienced traveling solo and moving to a new country. Then, I rediscovered myself while traveling on my own. In my story, all that wouldn’t be possible without the real enriching experience of traveling.
Experience Fashion and Style.
Clothes are a part of our identity. One thing is when you buy clothes automatically on sale. Another is when you engage in combining items of your wardrobe to look elegant – that is a process. For example, when I was going through a healing process after my second divorce, I used elegant dresses to help me rewire my own perception of myself – from a “female dude” to an elegant, independent, feminine woman.
Enriching experiences are the ones that make you leave your comfort zone to learn and evolve.
Enriching experiences are the ones above boring, and diversity is one of the key elements.
Jeans, yoga pants and black clothes by themselves are not necessarily boring, but wearing them every day and everywhere is uninteresting. There are thousands of comfortable dresses suitable to be worn every day for every occasion. Elegant and powerful colors also include cream, lilac, timeless white, corn silk, blush pink, light blue and royal blue, peach, taupe, emerald green.
What are “Fine Art Lifestyle” experiences?
I use “Fine Art Lifestyle” to summarize all the activities and experiences that can eventually help to upgrade your life.
External experiences that can help to upgrade your life:
- Going to a museum
- Visiting a gallery
- Go to the theatre, opera or ballet
- Walk around the city and pay attention to the architecture, try to find interesting details in every building you see
- Spend more time with positive people
- Invest in healthy food
- Exercise regularly and walk more
- Try yoga and meditation
- Learn a new language
- Travel to a country where you don’t speak a language
- Go to painting classes, learn to play a musical instrument, and invest more time in beautiful tactical experiences that allow you to create something, a picture, song, saw clothes.
- Pay attention to the interior design of your home
- Enhance your environment (home and if you can work place) with elements that elevate enthusiasm
- Use more vibrant colors in clothes ( black and white clothes are not the only one that looks good)
- Experiment with clothes, and play with combining different colors, textures, and styles. Use Pinterest as an inspiration
- Add some colorful dresses or shirts because infusing colors in your wardrobe help to elevate self-confidence
- Dress up just for you at home! Work office is not the only place that deserves to see your beauty. Even at home, practice more matching different clothes, don’t just go with black pants, a skirt, and shirt, or just a grey or blue dress. Be intentional in investing time in combining various items of your wardrobe.
Internal experiences that can help to upgrade your life:
- Quit complaining
- Smile and laugh more
- Don’t gossip or put other people down
- Practice mindfulness
- Practice breathing deeply and slowly
- Practice asking yourself more often: “What do I want?”
- Let go of the need to control everything
- When someone asks you to do something, before saying “Yes” (out of a desire to be perceived as a nice person), ask yourself, “Do I really want to do that?”
- Practice “Power Pose” (Amy Cuddy “Presence” book)
These experiences need to be regularly repeated, so they become part of your new identity.
How can enriching experiences help you boost self-esteem?
Self-esteem is confidence and satisfaction in oneself. It’s your general opinion of yourself and your feelings about your abilities and limitations. Healthy self-esteem makes you feel good about yourself and see yourself as deserving of the respect of others.
For many years I had low self-esteem. When I look back at my past, I see a younger me who didn’t believe in her abilities and thought I was always inferior to others. Ahhh! This horrible action of constantly comparing yourself to others! It took me years to understand that this war called “Compare yourself to others” is impossible to win. There always will be people around you who have something that you don’t have or have experienced something that you didn’t. So, since my last healing journey, which happened after my second divorce, one of my affirmations is “The only person I compare myself to is the person I was yesterday,” which works very well for me.
So how can enriching experiences help you boost self-esteem?
I understand that you need to do something you thought you were incapable of doing.
When I went through my first divorce, I had hundreds of low vibrational thoughts that kept me a prisoner of my own fear. “What if I am not able to pay rent? What if I get fired? What if nobody requests my photography service? What if I don’t meet a good guy in the future? What if I made a mistake? What if I should have better stayed with him? At least he was someone familiar. What if something happens to me when I am alone in the apartment, and there is no one to help me?” And many more of “What if…”
But guess what happened? Nothing of the above, but just the opposite.
I could pay my rent and even save money, I traveled, and live healthily and happily on my own. I read a lot and did photo sessions. I had an active social life and went to museums and galleries, theatre, and ballet. I gave away several boxes of black clothes I used in my marriage and enhanced my wardrobe with colorful clothes.
I thought I couldn’t live on my own, but I did it. And that’s how I boosted my self-esteem.
Magic happens when you ACT!
Your physical body needs to experience to make your mind believe that you CAN and deserve so much more! And to make words work, you need to act! It starts with a little brave thought that, in the right environment and with regular reinforcement, evolves into a strong belief and action experience.
So, let me summarize how enriching experiences can help you upgrade your life.
- It can help to elevate your self-esteem.
- Novelty applied harmoniously in every area of life brings good vibes.
- You will get a different perspective of life and what is available out there.
- It will help to crystalize your goals and personal mission.
- Differences exist to enrich our experiences.
- You can’t do the same thing repeatedly and expect a different result. Enriching experiences help you see where to change something to get a different result.
- Revitalize your motivation
- Art experience will show you that there is something more than just a survival mode in life.
- Beauty is not only outside. It starts within you. The richer you experience, the more beauty you feel inside.
- Enriching experiences is nourishing your true self!
You can’t change anything in your life by passively watching videos on a social media. You need action, real action. So, more dreams and more actions. You don’t become a traveler by watching videos of travel bloggers. You become one when you experience it on your own.
Believe you can, practice that in action, and you will upgrade your life!
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