How Can One Experience Transform Your Way of Thinking?
Do not index
Do not index
I was born and raised in a struggling working class family. Concepts like minimalism, and philosophies like, “make do with what you have,” and “appreciate the little things,” were instilled in me as a default setting. I had a happy and fulfilling life, but as one does, I still dreamed of the idea of becoming enormously wealthy and having that Shelby Cobra in my driveway.
I still dream big to this day, but my idea of success has been redefined, and I no longer strive for the traditional hoarding of extravagant assets. Today, I live my life in the pursuit of maximizing the time I have to explore, gaining new experiences, and having the freedom to live a life untethered from the traditional corporate experience.
During most of my teens and 20s, I worked in many industries and tried many things, all with the incentive to build wealth, and to be able to keep up with the youthful version of the Joneses. Growing up in the generation where video games, handheld music devices and cellphones were becoming major consumer products, there was a lot of keeping up to do. But everything changed for me when I agreed to try my hand at a tree planting contract between jobs. I packed up my bags and travelled to some of the most remote and untouched parts of northern Ontario and began a job that would transform the way I think about success.

Experiences Can Have Permanent Impacts On Us

Imagine logging roads constructed out of mud, gravel and felled trees. Swaths of land ripped apart into furrows by logging vehicles that challenged the size of my childhood home. Dangerous terrain teaming with predatory wildlife and veritable clouds of blood-sucking insects looking for their next meal.
This is not the type of experience that one would envision being sought after by the wealthy, but it is the type of experience I grew to love, and the experience that changed my life.
I was living in a ripped Walmart tent in a gravel pit. I regularly awoke to snow, rain, bugs and wild animals. I was surrounded by people who looked beat up, covered in ripped and bloody clothing patched up with duct-tape to keep the bugs out. It was intensely laborious piece-work where the harder you worked, the more money you could make, and it was breaking us all down both physically and emotionally. This was hell. But at the same time, I was loving it.
This existence was a veritable visual hyperbole of what it is to be poor. But the comradery, the carnal level of connection to nature, the beautiful wilderness, and being surrounded by beautiful people wearing their souls on their sleeves made this a transformative experience. Everybody was struggling together, sharing stories, playing music and relying on each other for support. People were having emotional breakdowns and getting badly injured, but they were also having love affairs and crafting life-long friendships. This was more enriching than any extravagant and expensive worldly experience I could imagine. Despite the intensity of the labor and the physical hardships we all endured, it was a profoundly positive mental experience that transformed the way I thought about what the traditional wealthy lifestyle has to offer.

Dare To Transform

Personal transformation is the result of life-changing events, whether good or bad, traumatic or celebratory, and they can radically shape who we are. There are lessons to be learned in every hard experience, and if you process the events in a healthy way, I think that you will always come out on the other side as a better version of yourself.
With wealth, you can buy the most exotic cultivars in the world and gain the experience of having tried them. But if you plant the seeds, tend to the garden, get your hands dirty and scraped up, you care for the plants and watch them grow — that can be a transformative experience.
These are the types of experiences that people miss out on when they are consumed by traditional values. You will spend your vacations seeing beautiful sights, trying extravagant foods, and you may have a Shelby Cobra in the driveway, but the connection you have with these experiences will be shallow and much less fulfilling.
Transformative experiences shape us into thought leaders and pioneers in our industries. The traditional values of consumer and business culture are now fossils of an older generation. If you want to make an impact on the future, and shape the world with novel ideas, getting your hands dirty may be the experience you need to cultivate transformative change.


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