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Think Smarter: Critical Thinking to Improve Problem-Solving and Decision-Making Skills by Michael Kallet

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18 Experiences

Your Experiences

Experiences are probably the most valuable assets you have, because they are made up of all your actual firsthand involvements. If you were there, if it happened to you, or if you saw it—it's an experience.

Experiences can only be from the past. Although they are very real to you, remember, your brain makes things up, throws things out, and distorts things. Just because you had an experience doesn't mean your interpretation of it was the same as someone else's with the exact same experience. For example, two people can order the same meal at a restaurant. After leaving the restaurant, one person says, “That was a great meal and restaurant”; the other person says, “I didn't enjoy that, the meal was just so-so, and it was noisy in there.”

Remember our discussion of emptying your bucket? Here's why it's so important to understand and be aware of what's in your bucket: the stuffin your bucket comes from your experiences, and experiences play a major role in how you come to conclusions. If you're not aware of your bucket's contents, then you're not aware of the experiences that lead you to a given conclusion. As a result, your breadth of conclusions is narrow. If you're aware and you can get rid of what's in your bucket—or at least ignore it for a little while—your breadth of conclusions is greatly enhanced. You'll be able to come up with new ideas you may have normally discarded. For example, suppose you had a prior interaction with someone who was not ...

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