What you Can Tell About People Through New Experiences

Last Sunday, I went to Pinot’s Palette and finally took a painting class. After checking-in, the instructor told me to put on an apron and pointed to my seat. As I tied my apron, I looked at the blank canvass, the paintbrushes, and the paper plate filled with different colored paints and felt excited – then I looked at the painting we would be doing and felt a bit intimidated. 

I quickly rejected the latter emotions and reminded myself I was here to enjoy my new experience of playing with the paints and brushes, not be stressed by having to perfectly recreate the painting set on the stage. The painting was of a crescent moon with a branch running through it and mountains in the distance. 

I admittedly struggled with parts of the project, the mountains didn’t turn out right and neither did the branches; and by right, I mean a mixture of what the original painting looked like and what I was imagining in my head. The desire to just call it quits or get a do-over as things weren’t panning out actually did surface for a split second. Especially since the more paint I applied to fix things, the worse things looked.

The lady to my left spent the vast majority of her time stressing she wasn’t keeping up with the instructor and wasn’t doing it right. 

A guy to my left followed most of the directions but ultimately decided to do his own thing with the painting.

It was interesting to be between two people who were both having first-time experiences but handled them differently from each other and from how I did. 

Every time I do something new, I’m keenly aware of how the experience makes me feel, what it has to teach me about myself, and what I’m gaining from it. But I also always observe everyone else around me to decipher how the experience is for them. 

You can tell a lot about people when you place them in new situations where they have to do things they’ve never done before. 

I’ve been actively pursuing an extremely wide plethora of first times and new experiences over the last seven years and observed 1,000s of people share in new experiences. The observations listed below are just that – my thoughts and evaluations based on my years of observations of how people identify who they are through new experiences.

The period of instruction will unveil the quick learners, inconsiderate people, and those with short attention spans.

Doing things for the first time usually always involves some kinds of instructions or a set of directions that have to be applied. Depending on what the new experience is – this can be simple or complex.

It’s clear people process information and direction in different ways, speed, and levels of comfort. 

It’s easy to pick out the quick learners because they’ll be the first ones ready to go, they don’t ask questions or if they do, the question will imply the directions were understood because the question will be a follow-up question. 

Questions are also a powerful tool to analyze if someone didn’t listen to the instructions or didn’t understand the instructions. Did someone lack the attention span or focus to understand or the ability to understand.

When people fail to pay attention but then delay others with questions it shows a lack of awareness and consideration for others. 

Now, you also have the slippery ones, who might not have understood but assume they’ll figure it out. They don’t ask questions and they’re ready to go. 

Application of the Directions – Having the New Experience

In the application phase of the directions, the helpers surface as does people’s level of confidence, grit, ingenuity, and patience.

Out of the quick learners, a certain percentage will surface as also being helpers. These are people with a high level of awareness who identified the slower learners and prepared themselves to provide assistance. They might proactively offer help or clearly make themselves available to provide help.

 But because you understood and comprehended the directions, it doesn’t automatically mean you can execute on them.

In the execution phase of the new experience observing a person’s actions, demeanor, follow-up questions, and continued interaction with other people are the telltale signs to learning more about them.

You have people who will just breeze through the experience. These people will be part of the quick learner group and a few others who didn’t let the struggle of understanding direction stop them from confidently executing. What other factors helped those people easily execute won’t necessarily be known or obvious. 

If someone is happily struggling and remains communicative with others but chooses to continue to figure it out on their own. It displays signs of confidence and grit. However, if they look frustrated and are becoming aggravated with others – it shows signs of being prideful, stubborn, impatient, and lacking grit. 

Assuming it’s a new experience that allows for this, failure to follow directions but still enjoy and complete the experience highlights ingenuity.

Failure to follow directions and causing disruptions and/or bodily harm highlights carelessness, irresponsibilities and a series of other negative traits.

How competitive, cooperative, and how much of a perfectionist a person is will also be on display, sometimes in obvious ways, but most often in subtle ways and perhaps not fully until after the experience is over.

The Reactions After Completing the New Experience

The behaviors of people following the completion of a new experience have things to tell us too about people.

The level of satisfaction gained and displayed after completing a new experience will highlight the value of the experience. But this doesn’t just speak the experience itself but what that person went through in the process of it. It speaks to if someone can benefit from what they experience such as: learning, encountering struggles, disappointments, and victories. 

The language they use to describe what the experience was like will highlight a limited or growth mindset, their level of emotional intelligence, and self-awareness just to name a few.

As you proceed on your Journey of First Times and New Experiences and share in new experiences with others – you might eventually want to start noticing not just want you’re learning about yourself but also want you can learn about others.

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