Your Hidden Treasure

No matter how small or seemingly insignificant, everything that has happened to you, every incident and experience, has been tucked away.

Imagine that as each incident unfolds, all the information is packed in a box that’s covered with a lid and placed on a shelf in a large warehouse. There’s no index, no accounting of what’s in each box or on what shelf it will be found. That’s because retrieval will occur automatically.

First to be stored will be the events of your earliest years as a child, then your education, followed by the beginning of your working years. Next will be your thirties and forties, arguably the busiest time of your life, followed by a leveling out during your fifties, then moving into your sixties and seventies, and beyond.

Sometime during the early part of those later years, you will have reasons to, for the first time, go into that warehouse, open the lid to one of those boxes, peer inside, and use what you’ve just found. Two remarkable things will happen at that point — you realizing how much information was stowed away and how valuable it’s turning out to be. It could be the answer to a problem, the exact words to use in a letter or conversation, the best procedure for starting a new enterprise, or a hundred other hints, ideas, answers, strategies, or methods to fill an otherwise blank mind.

Yet, not only is the quantity of what you’ve learned impressive, so is the quality. You stored both what you created yourself plus what others have told you or you’ve seen them do. All of this was happening without you ever being aware of it. Years ago, I would’ve laughed at that idea, but not now, definitely not after the first time when I realized what was really happening.

Even more important, nothing is removed from any of those boxes. Instead, consider them as permanent files whose contents are simply revealed to you on demand, used as an instant and valuable source to help you inform, inspire, and explain.

By now, you’ve probably concluded, and correctly so, that the number of boxes stored is directly related to how active you’ve been throughout your life. It’s one thing to sit at a desk or computer most every day, live a life so structured that there’s little opportunity for going beyond the ordinary and familiar. It’s quite another, however, to have several jobs over a range of one or more professions, all of them involving travel and mingling and dealing with all kinds of people. Clearly, the intensity of your life is up to you.

That statement prompts me to tell you this: There’s only one quotation stuck to the front door of our refrigerator. It reads: An interesting life is a choice.  Of all the quotations that could occupy that space, that one is arguably the most important. An interesting life not only rewards you at the time, it continues to do so by giving you the means for measuring and comparing each experience with another.

For example, if you ever go to the top of the Empire State Building in New York City, once the highest building in the world, you will forever afterward use that for comparing visits to every other tall building. The same relationship holds true for the graceful Golden Gate Bridge at the entrance to San Francisco Bay, the yawning chasm of the Grand Canyon in Arizona, and the breathtaking beauty of the Taj Mahal in India. Each sharpens your sense of awareness, allows you endless opportunities to compare.

Serving you in similar fashion are such happenings as when you were married, got your first job, had your first child, dealt with the death of your parents, or survived a serious illness.

Each and every one of these is a learning stop, a reference point that’s automatically packed away, ready to serve you again and again. The more boxes there are, the greater and richer will be the resource.

As you become older and begin to think and talk more about all the days that have gone by, many of them will come back to you, often as vivid and real as they were when they were happening. That’s when you’ll realize it’s coming from one of those many boxes.

A hidden treasure? Indeed, it is — one that will be there to serve you for the rest of your life.