Life: It’s the Experience That Counts

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Last night was the opening of Touch 09 – both our client and one of our church initiatives – and it kicked derrière. We’ve worked very hard, but the stars are all the volunteers who have tirelessly put time and effort into making this conference a success.

As I stood there, watching the whole thing play out in front of me, whilst enjoying my clean task list, I picked up a thought that I’ve been playing with for sometime. Tens of thousands of hours have been spent in preparation for this conference to provide the stage for experience. But why is a rich, compelling experience necessary?

I’ve come to consider that destiny is made in the moment of decision. One decision made with conviction can change the course of your life. “I’ll never do that again”, “from now on, I will always do this”, “I’ve had enough of this”. A quality decision will rouse that most precious human resource, action, and action will lead to transformation.

I’ve preached for years about quality decisions, but I am only beginning to understand that experience induces decision. A tragedy in your life will induce a decision. An trivial experience that illuminates your mind will induce a decision. A good movie or book will induce an experience. A friend, role model – an extended experience – can induce multiple decisions.

Understanding this helps us understand why an experience is staged and not made. A compelling experience will be multi-touch, providing many ways that, through the five senses, a decision may be induced. But you cannot make the experience. Experience is in the eye of the beholder, and we can only stage – like a theatrical director, carefully placing each part in order – in the hope that our audience will be inspired to make a decision, and act.

Has a compelling experience ever induced you to make a life altering decision?

Archived Comments

  • http://twitter.com/ColinWinstanley Colin Winstanley

    Perhaps I’m rather cranial but I count some of my biggest life experiences being through books, cassette tapes (that dates me!), DVDs, and now through the internet, which has changed the whole experience landscape i.e.web sites, newsletters, audio, video and of course blogs (cue Scott!). I can also say that my significant experiences are increasing with the pace and richness of web life. I am now trying to distil my experiences into my SuperLiving web site about health, happiness and success at http://www.superliving.co.uk

  • http://twitter.com/ColinWinstanley Colin Winstanley

    Perhaps I’m rather cranial but I count some of my biggest life experiences being through books, cassette tapes (that dates me!), DVDs, and now through the internet, which has changed the whole experience landscape i.e.web sites, newsletters, audio, video and of course blogs (cue Scott!). I can also say that my significant experiences are increasing with the pace and richness of web life. I am now trying to distil my experiences into my SuperLiving web site about health, happiness and success at http://www.superliving.co.uk

  • Scott Gould

    Hi Colin,

    I’m very much the same in that some books and tapes have really shaped
    me. What you’re hinting at is the digital experience which is
    something I will be getting into.

    I’m also testing out the fact that with Disqus commenting, you can
    reply to a comment in your email. So if this looks a bit odd, it’s
    because I’m testing. I think #end should end it?

    Scott

    the mobile: +44 (0) 7771 795566
    the work: aarongould.co.uk
    the rest: scottgould.me

  • Scott Gould

    Hi Colin,

    I’m very much the same in that some books and tapes have really shaped
    me. What you’re hinting at is the digital experience which is
    something I will be getting into.

    I’m also testing out the fact that with Disqus commenting, you can
    reply to a comment in your email. So if this looks a bit odd, it’s
    because I’m testing. I think #end should end it?

  • http://www.munyaradzihoto.wordpress.com/ Munyaradzi Hoto

    “destiny is made in the moment of decision” Powerful stuff. I believe it was John C Maxwell who said that successfull people make important decisions early in life, and then manage those decisions for the rest of their lives. Woould you agree then that The quality of a decision is enhanced through experience but what is generally lacking in most people is the ability to commit to that initial decision. One of the most powerful businessmen in zimbabwe said to me on one occasion that if I am to succeed I need to learn to make decisions and walk my talk. His job would be to help me improve the quality of those decisions as I grow.

  • http://www.munyaradzihoto.wordpress.com/ Munyaradzi Hoto

    “destiny is made in the moment of decision” Powerful stuff. I believe it was John C Maxwell who said that successfull people make important decisions early in life, and then manage those decisions for the rest of their lives. Woould you agree then that The quality of a decision is enhanced through experience but what is generally lacking in most people is the ability to commit to that initial decision. One of the most powerful businessmen in zimbabwe said to me on one occasion that if I am to succeed I need to learn to make decisions and walk my talk. His job would be to help me improve the quality of those decisions as I grow.

  • http://www.ruthharveyregan.co.uk/ Ruth Harvey-Regan

    I like your comment experience enduces decision….question – with the experience you are staging – is there space for someone to have a different outcome – make a different type of decision from the one you may be hoping for? Eg. Two people go to a Christian conference…..both go with open minds…for one person, the experience opens a whole new world of possibility…they encounter what is described as the presence of God, their hearts are touched, they feel a sense of forgiveness, love and renewal and make a committment to God….the other person sees a different picture…they see a staged social environment, with music inducing a trance like hypnotic state and what they percieve to be a mass hysterical response, they think…this experience feels false and manipulated…perhaps my life isnºt so bad after all, perhaps I don´t need a relationship with God – perhaps I need a better relationship with my family…they go back home and instead of being dissatisfied with their husband and family, they start to appreciate what they do have….thier relationship with their children and husband starts to inprove and gets better and better over the years. Of the two participants, both decisions were induced by the staging of the event….

  • http://www.ruthharveyregan.co.uk/ Ruth Harvey-Regan

    I like your comment experience enduces decision….question – with the experience you are staging – is there space for someone to have a different outcome – make a different type of decision from the one you may be hoping for? Eg. Two people go to a Christian conference…..both go with open minds…for one person, the experience opens a whole new world of possibility…they encounter what is described as the presence of God, their hearts are touched, they feel a sense of forgiveness, love and renewal and make a committment to God….the other person sees a different picture…they see a staged social environment, with music inducing a trance like hypnotic state and what they percieve to be a mass hysterical response, they think…this experience feels false and manipulated…perhaps my life isnºt so bad after all, perhaps I don´t need a relationship with God – perhaps I need a better relationship with my family…they go back home and instead of being dissatisfied with their husband and family, they start to appreciate what they do have….thier relationship with their children and husband starts to inprove and gets better and better over the years. Of the two participants, both decisions were induced by the staging of the event….

  • Scott Gould

    I would agree that a decision – and perhaps the ensuing commitment to it – is enhanced by how compelling the experience is.

    Being told you are unfit, and then a friend dying of a heart attack, will elicit varying degrees of decision because one is a more compelling experience.

    As for the commitment – I myself have had compelling experiences without keeping the decision. Not only is experience in the eye of beholder, but disciple is in the heart of the beholder – and without discipline, the decision fades.

  • Scott Gould

    I would agree that a decision – and perhaps the ensuing commitment to it – is enhanced by how compelling the experience is.

    Being told you are unfit, and then a friend dying of a heart attack, will elicit varying degrees of decision because one is a more compelling experience.

    As for the commitment – I myself have had compelling experiences without keeping the decision. Not only is experience in the eye of beholder, but disciple is in the heart of the beholder – and without discipline, the decision fades.

  • Scott Gould

    Hi Ruth,

    Many thanks for the comment – and I would completely agree that experience is in the eye of the beholder.

    When staging an experience (and by staging, I am comparing it to theatre but not saying it is theatre), there are projected outcomes, but you cannot control how people will react, nor should you want to.

    The difference between church and a conference is that in the local church you have outcomes set from the bible – the epistles list them all. But a conference, where the people are not in your local church, has a more general approach because they are not the sheep for that particular church. Of course, when that person goes home to their local church, then there are more defined outcomes.

    Certainly people will take different things away. For businesses this will be one thing, for churches or Christian conferences, another. As I have written, I want experience to induce decision – and if that happens in way that I have not expected, but still causes positive change, then I am happy.

    Reading into your phrase “music inducing a trance like hypnotic state and what they percieve to be a mass hysterical response”, I wonder how this fits into the 3,000 who became Christians on the day of Pentecost. Or consider the feeding of the 5,000 – there weren’t lights, but there were baskets, bread, fish – different tools for a different time. It’s never the medium that we must get hung up on – it is the result of transformation.

  • Scott Gould

    Hi Ruth,

    Many thanks for the comment – and I would completely agree that experience is in the eye of the beholder.

    When staging an experience (and by staging, I am comparing it to theatre but not saying it is theatre), there are projected outcomes, but you cannot control how people will react, nor should you want to.

    The difference between church and a conference is that in the local church you have outcomes set from the bible – the epistles list them all. But a conference, where the people are not in your local church, has a more general approach because they are not the sheep for that particular church. Of course, when that person goes home to their local church, then there are more defined outcomes.

    Certainly people will take different things away. For businesses this will be one thing, for churches or Christian conferences, another. As I have written, I want experience to induce decision – and if that happens in way that I have not expected, but still causes positive change, then I am happy.

    Reading into your phrase “music inducing a trance like hypnotic state and what they percieve to be a mass hysterical response”, I wonder how this fits into the 3,000 who became Christians on the day of Pentecost. Or consider the feeding of the 5,000 – there weren’t lights, but there were baskets, bread, fish – different tools for a different time. It’s never the medium that we must get hung up on – it is the result of transformation.

10th July, 2009

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