Investigating our own experience

Back in 2017, I was invited to share some of my experiences on a website owned by a respected writer and blogger. Sharing a limited account of those experiences led to more sales of a fictional novel I had published some months earlier. What a bonus!

One of the questions asked by the website owner was:

“Do any of your experiences find a way into your stories”?

My answer was in no doubt; “yes”. I found my answer so easily because investigating my own experience is something I do frequently, and I believe we should all do if we are interested in raising our personal growth and development.

Why Investigate?

Simply put, we can obtain meaning from multiple, interconnected experiences such as: being human, life experiences, background, and our current environment. Of course, we need to be aware that investigating some of our experiences can be painful and that voice in our head (aka the Ego) may try to divert our path to protect us from perceived harm.

Psychologist Hat On

Phenomenology describes one of many types of research methods that attempt to examine the lived experiences of human beings and gain understanding of the essential truths of their experience. I’m not going to dive deeper into the world of phenomenology here although the quality or nature of experiences matters greatly and often without conscious realization, our experiences can make or limit our success.

Contradictory Words?

I have argued on many occasions that we should be living in the present moment because the only time we know we have for sure is right now; in this moment. That’s true so, I am not going to take back my words. What I will do however, is add; the past informs our present. Simple and obvious, right? But look back to the last few words of the previous paragraph, “our experiences can make or limit our success”.

We can improve our performance as a direct result of effort. Performance increases, effort increases and leads to more improvement and success. When performance begins to plateau, it’s natural to increase the same efforts that led to past gains. But sometimes, the harder one pushes, the harder something seems to push back. It’s as though we reach a limit or resistance which prevents further improvements or growth.

Firing Our Growth Engines

The real leverage in erasing our “Limits to Success” is in finding and eliminating the factor(s) limiting success. How can we do that?

Write about it

It is often difficult to think about past events with a sense of clear objectivity, but we must start somewhere. I prefer to write about my own because it’s easy to leave things out if I just think about the past without pen and paper at hand. One event is overwritten by another because of the stories we tell ourselves and so on. Simply thinking leaves some rocks unturned because our powerful minds are exceptionally good at leading us astray in the name of protection.

Turn to Mind Maps

I wrote a post about mind maps recently.

Here’s an example of one I use when I need to explore things that might be holding me back.

The behaviors that keep many people from achieving success come from the realm of self-limiting beliefs. These might include beliefs such as thinking you are too inexperienced, because you failed at a similar project in the past, believing you shouldn’t take a risk because you’ll fail, thinking it is too late, or you don’t need more money because you are comfortable, over-thinking . . . I’m sure you could add a few of your own.

Believe It or Not

As the last two bubbles on the mind map tell you, you have the power to accept or reject your beliefs and change can happen when you are committed. Success becomes less of a challenge when we open our minds to change and growth.

The past informs our present, our experiences can make or limit our success.


Writing or Mind Mapping may not suit your style, there are many other ways to effectively explore and challenge your limits. We need a box of tools to challenge the limits and move forward toward success.

If you feel that you may benefit from help, please leave your contact details in the comments section below and you will be contacted by your preferred method. Please understand that your contact details will never be published, and your privacy is assured.

Comments and Questions

Please leave yours below. Your thoughts or questions may well ignite a positive spark in other readers thinking. You will always receive a prompt response to your questions and there is no such thing as a bad question; only the one that was never asked.


I bow to the place in you that is love, light, and joy

I wish you a wonderful day.

Peace & Light

Steve Costello is a British Community & Youth Studies and Psychology honors graduate with over 30-years theoretical and practical experience in the Personal Development public and private sectors. He founded ExGro in 2018 with business partner, friend and clinical psychologist, Leo Faerberg.

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