The Power of A Superior Experience

I’m honored to give today’s stage to the most well read man I know, and in kind, one of the most eloquent writers I know, Christian Fahey. He’s an accomplished musician, successful father, and revered husband. And he’s my friend. I hope you’re as challenged and equally inspired as I am by today’s post. ch:

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Some time ago, I read something from renowned editer and author Sol Stein (Stein On Writing for those interested). He wrote that the correct intention for a writer was “to provide the reader with an experience that is superior to the experiences the reader encounters in everyday life.” I was really struck by that because, like many others who write and enjoy it, I do so “because I have something to say” or “need to get something off my chest” or “have a passion for this or that.” Stein’s point is that the focus of our writing is to enhance and ennoble the life of the reader. It’s not about me.

I began extrapolating this important reality. What one does in writing one can do in daily life. As a disciple of Jesus, I value Him, my relationship with Him and the experience of His presence. When He is near me (especially in that exciting, “palpable” sense) nothing else can compare.

So I had to ask myself, “How do people experience my presence in their lives?” Being honest I’d have to admit that at times my involvements in the lives of the people I live and work with have energized them. And at other times, candidly, I’ve drained them. Usually the drain part comes when it’s all about me. And the energizing quality comes when I forget me and seek to “provide (name) with an experience that is superior to the experience (name) encounters in everyday life.”

Be honest. How do people experience you?

The world has spent the past few weeks reflecting upon the life of the late Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple Computers. When Steve passed away, I happened to be reading Leander Kahney’s excellent book Inside Steve’s Brain. The one thing that emerged very quickly from my reading was that the experience of the user was one of the absolute core values of Steve Jobs and Apple. Still is. Millions of dollars and countless thousands of work hours were and are spent to provide Apple customers with a superior experience in their interaction with modern technology. Jobs examined every aspect of the experience of an Apple customer and, with his outstanding team, honed it endlessly to ensure that the complex was simplified and that the experience of the buyer—even down to the opening and assembly of a new computer—was superior to anything else out there. Jobs’ solution to the problem of pirating of music (through illegal downloading) was to provide such a superior experience for one visiting the iTunes Store, that one would be willing to pay for the tunes and files they wanted, rather than pirate them. A superior experience as a curative for a moral and economic problem. Brilliant.

Challenge for the day: Ask yourself how people experience your presence in daily life. Be honest and willing to make adjustments, shifts in thinking, learn new stuff, whatever. You may be surprised how people jump out of the woodwork when they see how their lives are enhanced just by being with you—a superior experience. -Christian Fahey

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  • Christian Fahey

    Thank you! 🙂 I’m humbled to be asked to share, C. Thanks again. Carpe diem!

    • Great post. Thought provoking, and highly valuable for my readers.

      • Christian Fahey

        Again, you’re so kind. Thanks for all you do C!

  • Convicting, yet inspiring! In the “me-my-mine” world we live in, it truly is the people who live to make those around them better than change the world. Last night I watched a documentary on the life of Mother Theresa, and she gave her life for this: that others would see the love of Christ. What experience could be more superior that that?

    Thanks for the guest writer CH!

    • Christian Fahey

      Thanks Moon! There was no one quite like “Mama T” (apologies to Shane Claiborne). And she changed the world in the slums of Calcutta. Amazing!

  • Wow. Very thought provoking. Makes me rethink my reason for writing. It also, is a great reminder of the power we have in inspiring people or draining them.
    Just remembering in this selfish society that it’s not about me.
    Thanks for sharing, Christopher & Christian thanks for writing it, much needed for all who write & who are around people. So basically, a great read for everyone.

    • Christian Fahey

      Thanks Beth! I was really stunned by Stein’s description of correct intent of a writer too (because I like to write “to have something to say”). Kind of like the opening line to “The Purpose-Driven Life” by Rick Warren–“It’s not about me!” I’ve found as I forget about my own happiness, I find it. And vice-versa.

  • Kirk

    Great thoughts and loved the read! Thanks for posting it!

    • Christian Fahey

      Thanks Kirk! Jobs really thought outside the box and changed the world (I know a couple of pastors who are changing the world by doing the same thing!) 🙂

  • Christian Fahey

    You’re most kind, bro. Thanks again. 🙂

  • That’s true about writing; it’s all about the reader. And it’s also true in life. I mean, the Apostles, even though they were given such great power through the Holy Spirit, never used it for themselves. Because they knew that it wasn’t about them, it was about Jesus and the wonderful Message of salvation. Thank you, Christian, for posting this piece! It reminds us why we’re here.

    • Christian Fahey

      You summed it up beautifully, Glade. Even the very anointing of the Holy Spirit is meant to help others. That we sense God’s nearness and benefit from it is an added bonus. Thank you!