I think it goes without saying that the Earth is in a critical state with regards to climate change. I am by no means an expert, but at this point you should be aware that our environment is deteriorating at an alarming pace, and that recycling should be part of our every day lives. Now, I am not here to talk to you about climate change, but this concept of recycling is an interesting one for me. The phenomenon that something that is no longer needed can have a second chance to be of use, while saving time, money, material, and most importantly, environmental costs is a system that can be implemented into our own lives not only in terms of how we get rid of waste, but also how we approach our challenges. Let me elaborate.
The beauty of growing up is that as you gain years in life you also gain experiences. Experiences that shape you and mold you into who you are. Some of them are good, and some of them are bad, but ultimately they create the person that the world gets to see as ‘you’. They add up to everything you are, and as you continue to grow they will shape who you become. So how does this relate to recycling? Well, I think there is a very interesting thing that happens when you become aware of how your life evolves. People are very good at asking the question “why is this happening.” But just asking this question does not help the situation – in some cases, asking why without knowing the answer can make it worse. We get stressed and overwhelmed by harsh realities that we find ourselves in, and at times lose track of how to get through it all. Something that I’ve learned to do in these situations is recycle my experiences.
It’s hard to talk about “recycling” experiences, without understanding the concept of “reflection”. In today’s age, where everything we do is done in a super fast, instant way with an overload of information it can be very difficult to pause everything and have your mind be fully present in one moment. Reflection is a critical part of getting to know yourself, and when you get in the habit of doing it regularly, you can truly start to see patterns of behaviors throughout your life. You begin to understand how you would react to something based on how you reacted in previous experiences. You start to become aware of the things that scare you, because they resemble things that have already happened. You begin to realize the decisions you tend to make that can be harmful for you, by simply looking back on your life and seeing where you made a similar mistake before. Reflection to me is among the most important elements of growth, because it is where you truly take a moment to learn about who you are in order to change your approach the second time around.
Once you reflect on your experiences, then you can start to “recycle” your solutions. Knowing your own history, you’ll realize that every struggle you’ve been through, every challenge you’ve faced, every mistake you’ve made, and every success you’ve achieved has passed. You’re no longer in that moment, so you clearly found a solution. You clearly moved on. It was not the end of the world, nor was it worth all the pain you went through stressing over it… or maybe it was. Recycle that approach. Reflect on how you did something, good or bad, and recycle the knowledge you gained from this process. You will begin to build a confidence in your ability to overcome challenges, as well as how to solve problems. As with the recycling of waste, it’s not about recycling everything . There are things that can’t be recycled, and this is where you truly grow. Learn which things work, and which don’t. Understand which things help you, and which things don’t. Recycle the things that work, and toss the things that don’t.
Why should you Recycle your experiences? There are many reasons, but one of the main reasons I believe in this approach may surprise you. The reason I think you should try to recycle your experiences in order grow is because it builds confidence. It builds a sense of knowing that you are in fact capable of overcoming the things that seem too large for you to conquer. At this age, many of us struggle with issues of self doubt, anxiety, stress, and a lack of confidence that hinders our ability to progress. I speak from experience when I say that there have been times in my life where I’ve stopped myself from doing things, because I did not think I was capable of doing them. When you recycle, however, you look back at things that have already happened. You learn from things that can’t be altered, it is a fact that you are where you are. Building on this starts to give you a sense of power and belief in yourself, and at this critical time of our lives, where our ideas and aspirations become a driving force in how we want to live our lives, knowing yourself well enough to motivate yourself when things get hard, is extremely important.
It’s truly about learning from your experiences and becoming aware of who you are. You’re stronger than you think. You’ve been problem solving your whole life. Even if you don’t know it, you have been. That’s how you’ve made it this far. So when your next challenge comes up, don’t stress about it, and don’t be afraid to recycle your experiences. The solution might be hiding in something you’ve already been through.