Growing up, search was all about going to the library, looking through the card index to find the books associated with a topic, and then going down rows of shelves to find a book whose number might have been A73.453.12.
Today search is easy. We simply do a Google search to find something. Every website or platform has a search box so we can quickly filter down towards the information we are looking for.
Shopping is a form of search from both our old and new worlds. Think internet – find the cheapest price or find the best deal. Think the old fashioned way – visit a shopping mall until we find what we like best or is the cheapest.
One area of our lives that we don’t use search enough is in the pattern, paths, and experiences within our daily life. The best way to describe this type of search is to define its opposite: routine. Routine means we are very familiar with everything we do and that is around us without recognizing how small that space might be for us. In our routine there is nothing to search for. Everything is familiar.
Searching, by finding new experiences to live within our lives, is central to creativity, deepening who we are and becoming more resilient, and growing as a person in ways we never thought we could. The variety we become exposed to can also provide some rest from the burdens inherent in our lives.
Search that leads to new experiences is not well directed prior to finding the new experience. It just happens if we let it. For example, moving from the suburbs into a small, city apartment in a bustling neighborhood of people, restaurants, and bars (especially if you are young). Going off to school to live on campus and away from home for the first time. Moving to a new city where you will be starting a new job. Taking a class to learn how to play the piano or dance. Listening to a different type of radio station. Going to a new city or country for vacation. These are all examples of diving deep into new experiences in our life.
You end up with outcomes similar to more classic searches. In a classic search, you Google something to learn more about it (that you did not know before). In the new experience search, you don’t know what you will learn until after you have been exposed to it in a more random way. But you will learn something just like in a Google search.
Some of the things learned from new experiences is good. Sometimes not. You may meet someone that will influence your life or can help you or you may not. You just won’t know ahead of time what you are going to learn and find.
Consciously adding new experiences to our daily life is a very intentional search process that will appear random. Becoming good at this type of search could yield much greater knowledge and impact than the hundreds of Google searches we do each week.