I jumped out of a plane a few years ago and chose not to tell anyone, as an experiment.
What I learned was that when I share my experiences in real-time, I lose touch with ‘the why’ I chose it. ‘The why’ quickly becomes for ego, to gain admiration. And then I’ve lost my freedom, as unconsciously I do things that will be praised from others, forgetting what I value.
It is a twisted feedback loop, where I may have an experience, and I’ll wait to see how others judge my experience. Based on others’ judgement, I’ll form my own opinion of my own experience. Completely twisted and in reverse.
For example, let’s say I post a photo of a recent experience on Instagram (I don’t actually use social media, but roll with me on this). Based on how many likes the photo gets, I’ll subconsciously form an opinion and let my feeling of that experience be influenced. The extreme would be removing a post that does not get enough likes (which I recently learned kids are doing these days).
I’ve now chosen an experience to gain praise from others with an attempt to boost my ego. And like a drug, I’ve now lost my freedom and am hooked to the admiration of others.
An actual example, I took email off my phone 7 years ago. And didn’t tell anyone for 4 years. Initially, I wanted it to be my own little secret, there was a thrill in being coy about a counter-tech-culture move I had made. And I also didn’t want to deal with the judgement from others who may be insecure about this practice for themselves, or have to put energy towards convincing someone else that what I was experimenting with was ok. And then I forgot that I hadn’t told anyone and it become second nature, a part of my lifestyle. And when a few years ago I decided to share this mindful tech practice, it was from a place of trying to help others (and not to show off).
A few years ago, I went skydiving. It was a deeply personal and emotional experience for me, as I’ve had a lifelong fear of heights. Over the course of one year, I worked deliberately and diligently to get closer to this fear of heights, and had gone ziplining, cliff jumping, CN Tower edge walking, and finally skydiving. It was such a thrill and amazing experience. I am so thankful I did it. And even more thankful I resisted the urge and instinct to tell my whole world about it immediately after.
I needed to sit with the experience, the thrill, the achievement, with myself for a solid week. To process what I had done, my journey over the past year leading to this personal achievement and get in touch with how I truly felt about it. It was such a precious experience for me that I did not want to taint it with biases and judgements from others. I did not want to have to justify it to my mom. I did not want to risk tainting a natural high by hearing praise from friends. Because the next time I did something, instead of experiencing the emotions and feelings of the activity itself, I would be anticipating the reactions from those around me. And there I’ve lost my freedom to choose how to feel about my own experience.
The Benefit of Keeping Some Experiences To Yourself
Taking time to sit with my experiences has allowed me to connect with “the why” more deeply, which in turn builds confidence, courage and conviction for the next time.
So it is like that, I encourage you to wait even 24 hours or 1 week before sharing a personal experience that you value with others. Be it a delicious meal, an amazing yoga class, a beautiful sunset or jumping out of a plane. You owe it to yourself to soak in the experience, unfiltered, untainted, raw and fresh, and connect with what it truly meant to you.