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How I learned experience is more important than my fears

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experiential learning beats materialism
Be fearless in chasing experiences! Image by Kerstin Zettmar.

How I learned experience is more important than my fears

By Joseph Gonzalez

 

For millennials, experiential learning beats materialism. Studies show we don’t want material goods. We want experiences. We want something we can remember and pass down. However, chasing these experiences can be hard for those who get stuck in fear, worry, and anxiety.

Ask a million people how to approach the idea of change, and you’ll get a million different answers. This doesn’t change that a lot people are set in their ways—taking chances is not a priority for many.

And there’s nothing wrong with that. Some people prefer not to take chances, while others don’t know how to. I didn’t either. I also didn’t learn how until high school.

 

An unmemorable high school experience

My high school career would not be remembered as a memorable one, due to the fact that I didn’t take many chances. By the time I was in 9th grade, I couldn’t even talk to a member of the opposite gender without getting a red face. How was I even supposed to get to actually know one?

My first kiss didn’t happen until senior year of high school. Even then, I was sort of peer-pressured into it by friends. The girl I kissed, Ally, felt the same way about the situation.

“Coming from Catholic school, I never really knew how to take major risks in life,” Ally said. “Even if it was unexpected, this kind of taught me that you should just go with it sometimes.”

She didn’t know what would come of it, and neither did I. Yet, we both did it. And that’s what living fearlessly is all about!

 

Take a chance

This wouldn’t be the only major chance I took in high school. Junior year, I was asked by a friend to join the tennis team. Sports, however, were never my forte.

The only way I would get on base playing baseball would be if I got hit by the pitch. The only points I could score in basketball were free throws. Yet, I figured “why not” when it came to trying tennis. It ended up working out for me. This decision brought me more confidence and taught me that there is life outside of Xbox.

This positive mindset also applied when it came to asking out a good friend of mine. This may not seem like a big deal, but since I had been in the friend zone for nearly a year, I thought I was walking right into rejection.

It turned out that she felt the same way.

Again, this is was an example of going for it: if I didn’t risk it all in asking that one question, I would’ve spent endless months wondering what could’ve been. But I didn’t, because I chose not to worry about the consequences.

And you can do the same.

 

Don’t let fear make the decision for you. Travel, adventure and live fearlessly. Image by Amanda Hollenbeck.

 

Experiential learning beats materialism

According to a survey published by Eventbrite, millennials ages 18-34 seem to be more fond of experiences, as 72% of them claim that they would rather experience something in person than buy something materialistic. 69% of that same group believe doing so can connect them more with those around them.

Psychologist Rich Walker of Winston-Salem State University, suggests there may be additional evidence to this claim. Based on his studies of thousands of diaries, he concluded that those who engage in varied and frequent experiences are more likely to retain positive emotion than those who don’t.

Considering the aforementioned statistics, it is possible millennials are recognizing this mindset. Even if you don’t identify as a millennial, there are still ways to help yourself overcome fear and achieve more.

 

Give fear the boot

To give yourself a start, having a look at a self-help book won’t hurt. Stop Playing Safe: Rethink Risk, Unlock the Power of Courage, Achieve Outstanding Success by Margie Warrell can introduce ways to change your method of thinking. She shows you how to take smart risks, whether they pertain to your social life or your career.

It’s okay to be afraid of the future. But when you realize that sometimes taking chances is necessary, life becomes what you make it, as cliche as that sounds. Some may take longer to find that mysterious “it” in life, but we all have the ability to find the confidence to do what we thought we couldn’t.

Joseph Gonzalez

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