We all have things happen in our lives which affect our outlook. We have interactions with family, with friends, with clients, with employees. All of these experiences make up our past. They make up what we know and understand about life. But without a few important things those experiences are worthless. We have an opportunity. We have the power to improve our lives and our businesses. And we have the option to make our experiences count for something or to be worthless.

Here’s the important things to keep in mind to make sure your experiences impact your life and your work in the right way. These are the ways you make your experience not worthless.

1. Learn from the past

If you never stop to reflect on past experiences, if you never analyze how a particular situation unfolded and the outcome was reached then your experience is worthless. You must do more than just collect experiences in life. You have to learn from them. You have to grow from them. Learning from past experiences means stopping and looking at what was done right and what was done wrong. Force yourself to work through the activities and how they impacted the outcome. Without the ability to learn from our past experiences they serve no purpose.

2. Change the present

Once you’ve learned from the past experiences you must use what you learn to change or improve your present. I don’t mean that every experience should result in you doing something different on a daily basis. I’m not suggesting you change your daily ritual or that you walk away from every experience with a mile-long list of changes you need to make in your present situations. In fact, sometimes, the best thing you can learn from a past experience is the change to make no change. Meaning instead of changing you stop and stay constant. (Ironically that is a change from previous behavior) If you don’t take those lessons you’ve learned. If you don’t capitalize on the experiences you have and use them to change the present then they are worthless.

I'm reminded of the quote by Albert Einstein.

Einstein Insanity Quote

3. Shape the future

So now you see where I’m going. We looked at how experiences are worthless if we don’t learn from them. Next we saw how those same experiences are without much value if we don’t use them and the lessons we learned to change our present situation. Lastly, we see that if we don’t use those experiences to shape our future they are worthless. Those experiences, those life lessons you’ve learned and have used to change your current situation must be used as a guide to help shape your future goals and aspirations. If you know how something happens because you have experience with that particular situation then you can not only understand the outcome but you can shape it. You must do something with your experiences and your past. You must use your experiences to shape your future, if you don’t then they hold no value.

Three ways to make sure your experiences are not worthless. It’s not necessarily hard. But like so many things in life it takes thought, it takes patience and it takes perseverance. We must make our experiences valuable. They are one of the most valuable assets we have and possibly the one thing of true worth we have that no one else ever has had. Our daily lives and existence, our minute by minute experiences are unique to us and we have the opportunity to decide what we do with them. Don’t make one of your greatest resources worthless. Use your experiences to learn, change, and shape what you do.