Treasure Hunt versus Scavenger Hunt. Do you remember this from DAY #209? It has been one of my favorite take-aways from Brooke Snow’s podcast this year.

I want to spend a few minutes today on SO WHAT SATURDAY talking about the practical application of treating life and challenges in life as a scavenger hunt versus a treasure hunt. It’s been on my mind.

How is this done? What does this look like?

“We will never be exonerated… Knowing this can help us let go of the fantasy of figuring it out one day, and instead we can embrace the real purpose of life… to learn by experience.”

Learn from the times when we choose poorly, learn from the times when we choose well, we can learn from our circumstances, learn from the people in our lives.

And He doesn’t expect us to be perfect. We are here to learn from experience.

And then the “so what”. Then the “how to”:

“Learning by experiment is the practical approach to intentional change.”

Brooke uses the example of Nephi and his brothers, when they were commanded to return to Jerusalem, to get the brass plates – their scriptures, essentially – from a wicked and powerful man named Laban.

“They may have gone into this mission thinking that one grand attempt would be all it took, just like we too can fantasize into thinking that there is one mast plan that will make all our wildest dreams come true and will bring the reward that we seek in one dramatic moment.”

Nephi and his brothers had to try one way. Reevaluate. Try another way. Reevaluate. Try another way.

I think we naturally want to stop trying after we’ve failed at something once. And, I guess the question that haunts me is this: Did it not work because it was wrong, or did it not work because I stopped trying? I wondered that with guys I dated in college. I wondered that about areas I proselyted in as a missionary in a South Africa. I wondered that about getting pregnant. I wondered that about learning a new language. I wondered that about learning new skills. And I have a huge list of those! Maybe the “failures” are less about what is “right” and what is “wrong” – what I “should” be doing and what I “shouldn’t” be doing. Maybe my failures teach me something about myself – something about my own desires.

“Desire … relates so directly to our moral agency and our individuality. Whether in their conception or expression, our desires profoundly affect the use of our moral agency…

Desires are much more than passive preferences or fleeting feelings. Of course our genes, circumstances, and environments matter very much, and they shape us significantly. Yet there remains an inner zone in which we are sovereign, unless we abdicate. In this zone lies the essence of our individuality and our personal accountability. Therefore, what we insistently desire, over time, is what we will eventually become and what we will receive in eternity.”


What do I truly truly desire? Will that desire serve me well?

“Mostly we become the victims of our own wrong desires.”


And when we have determine our desire, and when we have determined that we like the reason for our desire, and when we have determined that we are willing to fail to obtain what we desire, try. Find something small to change and try again. Gather data. And try again. Experiment. That, my friends, is how you learn by experience.

“I don’t think God purposely withholds grand master plans from us to watch us suffer and fail. Rather, I think there’s these little treasures we are supposed to gain in the process of experimenting, that we wouldn’t notice in any other way. He doesn’t want to just bless us with the big treasure of eternal life. (If that were the case, he wouldn’t have sent us here in the first place, but kept us where we were at.) He wants us to gather all the small tiny treasures on the way. Can you develop the attributes that only come through incremental growth?”

Have you ever heard of a do-over meditation? Similar to Brooke Castillo’s teachings about practicing the neural pathways we want, mentally. Brooke Snow teaches to do this work – a do-over meditation – each night:

“I ask myself, what went well today and what needs work. I imagine I get a do-over. I like to imagine Jesus is with me, and I re-do a moment in my day, in a way that would bring better results. I get another try. And if I don’t know how to do it any better, I ask Him! And He suggests one small change.

It used to be that I would use my evening prayers to say sorry for all the ways I messed up. And to ask for forgiveness. And then I’d hop in bed, hoping for a better experience tomorrow.

It was life changing for me when I realized that these moments were opportunities to learn.”

What could happen if I changed just one small thing about how I do something? Do you think that would make revelation easier to hear? Line upon line, precept on precept? Do you think it would lead me closer to those things I truly desire?

“What do you think could happen if the areas you needed to improve were no longer things that kept you from God, but instead became the very challenges that you approached together WITH God?”

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