Finding ways to earn ‘experience dividends’ can lead to a big payoff over time

Dedicating resources towards having adventures adds to quality of life

I am currently knee-deep into a book titled Die with Zero (2020) that was recommended by my close friend, Yash. The author, Bill Perkins, discusses a concept he calls “experience dividends.” This refers to the reward you receive after an experience has been lived. It’s not about the immediate feeling, but rather the memory that lives on for a decade, or even longer. The experience dividend is the feeling of happiness and connectedness you get each time you share that memory.

Perkins argues that the earlier in life you can experience the kind of events that produce future dividends, the more valuable that experience will ultimately be to you. Whether we are making a commitment of time or money or both, we should be willing to overspend on having experiences and creating memories, especially when we are younger. That way, the experience dividend can pay off over a longer time frame. These experiences don’t have to be extravagant. They can be as simple as trying something new.

When I think of these memories in my own life, I remember how I usually order my favorite breakfast when I go to the local diner with my family on Saturday mornings. But one day, I decided to order something different. That led to a funny family story. I think of my kids saying, “Dad, do you remember when you tried grits for breakfast?” That always leads to everyone laughing about the face I made when I tried them. It’s now part of our family folklore, and that’s the value that came from stepping out of my comfort zone.

I bring this up because I am dedicating myself to trying new experiences this year. I am timing these experiences according to the advice I read in the book Manifesting Made Easy (2016). Author Jen Mazer talks about trying new things or forming new habits at the start of a new moon. We all have a natural rhythm, and the start of a new moon is a time that is ripe for innovation.

In the spirit of this newfound philosophy, I have blocked my calendar for each new moon this year. This is when I will seek out new experiences. It started after New Year’s with a hike that I have been wanting to take for two years. Each day when I would drive by the starting spot, I would tell myself that I needed to do that hike. Now I can check that box because I am happy to report that I have just completed the Difficult Run Hike. It was rewarding to hike that trail, a magnificent route that passes by several small scenic waterfalls as it winds its way to the Potomac River.

That was an experience I will remember forever. I’ve also decided I am going to play golf at Augusta and Pebble Beach this year, two world-class courses I’ve always wanted to try.  At the moment, I have no idea how I am going to get on those exclusive courses but I am manifesting it so I am sure it will come true.

I also have a list of 30 other ideas for activities that I can do around Washington, DC. I would love to hear your thoughts – what would be an exciting next adventure? I still have some new moon time available this year, so if you come up with a fun activity, don’t hesitate to invite me along for the ride.