Collecting Experiences

Experiences are the soul of Life.

“Life is about collecting experiences”, Carson the butler on “Downton Abby”

To increase your overall happiness and satisfaction with life, one must manage these experiences to the extent possible. Cognitive Behavior Therapy suggests substituting positive behavior for dysfunctional behavior. That is what I am proposing, but without the therapy or identifying the dysfunctional. I believe if enough positive experiences are introduced into your life, some of the dysfunctional will be pushed out by default. Research has shown new, unique experiences have a greater and more lasting effect than life on auto pilot. Your life can improve without the cost and bother of clinical therapy.

I’m proposing the age-old tool of lists. I’ve tried putting my “stamp” on the system.

  1. Bucket list: This should be about 10 items you would like to complete in your lifetime. They should challenge you but be doable. Examples might be: climb the Eifel Tower, take a week cruise on the Mississippi, buy a motor home and put 25,000 miles on it while living in it, etc. Once you have the list, you should start laying out a plan on how to finish the list. Planning the campaign can be almost as much fun as living it.
  2. Rotating list of 50: Make a list of 50 things you would like to do. These should be doable on at most 2-3 days’ notice. Examples would be: going to that restaurant just outside your comfort zone, going to a movie, hiking to Xxxx Lake, etc. If you are in a relationship, these should be couples’ activities, like a date. A method of picking these at random should be set up. Paper slips in a fish bowl or a spread sheet set to random sort. The surprise is half the fun. When one is picked, it must be replaced, either with a new activity or putting the existing one back to be chosen again. The list should always be 50. If you can’t think of 50, you need to put a little more thought in this. Coming up with the list is part of the experience.

Studies have shown new positive experiences increase your overall happiness. Put the plan in motion. Commit to keeping it going. In a relatively short time, you will have done more interesting things than most people you know and be much happier for having done it. If you are having a hard time filing the list, try Googling bucket list. There are many lists. I saw one with 1000 ideas. You should be able to fill in any list from here. Try some new things. Have fun!

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