I’ve seen 2 things happen when seeking, and finding, diverse experiences.
Firstly, there is an much higher sense of appreciation. It is only after learning tennis for a while did I truly understand the genius in Roger Federer. You have got to have done it, or attempted to do it to know what it takes. The more such experiences and the more appreciation we have for people out there – learning, attempting things and doing things.
Secondly, there is a MUCH higher tolerance for failure. I was helping out at a restaurant on the evening of one of the busiest days in the year the other day and the experience taught me so much. There was a long queue of impatient folk, some of whom were getting understandably irritated and I vividly remember mentally switching sides and wondering how I would behave and also gaining an insight on what needed to be done to deal with the situation. A few years ago, it took only a week of work at McDonalds to change my perspective about McDonalds..
It’s the same with every new thing I’ve attempted over the years – writing a book, working with an IT friend on an iPhone app, learning the guitar, writing a daily learning blog. All these activities have given me a ton of new perspective.
I’ve come to the conclusion that while diverse experiences likely add value in many ways (making you a more interesting person, for instance), the biggest way they change us is that they make us more tolerant, more humane and with a bigger ability to empathize.
In short, they teach us what it really takes to be human.
That’s some return on investment..