“Experience Life.” Was that supposed to be an imperative command, as in: “Thou shalt go forward and experience life”? Or was the word experience intended as an adjective describing the kind of life that the magazine promoted (i.e., “a life defined by experience”)? I couldn’t be sure. Plus, it wasn’t entirely clear from the logo’s design whether the title was intended to be “Experience Life” or “Experience” – with just a little, squeaky-voiced “Life!” thrown in as sort of a cheer at the end.
As a former marketing specialist, I was surprised that Life Time Fitness hadn’t seized the somewhat obvious opportunity to brand the publication as Life Time Fitness magazine. Countless people (including me) have suggested this, of course, arguing that it would be a good brand-building move and perhaps – since the magazine focuses on fitness – a more descriptive title.
But now, several months later, the name Experience Life has grown on me. Part of this is simple familiarity, no doubt. But another part of it is a growing sense of what Life Time Fitness stands for, and how the words “experience” and “life” – in all their potential combinations and meanings – are actually quite appropriate as a title for its magazine.
Last week, while I was at the club running on a treadmill (the broken foot has healed nicely, thank goodness), LTF/X director Chris Clark handed me a book called Einstein’s Space and Van Gogh’s Sky. It’s a book, coauthored by a physicist and a psychologist, about the nature/natures of physical and nonphysical reality. Not the kind of light reading I typically go for on the treadmill, frankly, but the page it was opened to intrigued me.
It was an analysis of the word “experience” – a word, according to the book, that is based on the Latin verb experiri, and that can be translated in all the following ways: “to try out; to investigate; to risk; to try, in a legal sense; to probe; to learn; to see; to find; to suffer; to dream; to imagine.” Wow. The passage went on to say:
To learn by experience implies an exposure to fact, often sensory fact, and the adjective “experiential” denotes something externally perceived or verified, in contrast to what is merely felt or thought or believed. But we also experience pain, suffering, a storm of ideas, a temptation, a desire, a doubt, the agony of making a decision. To collect all these strands of meaning we should use the word experience in a sense formulated by the philosopher William James and define it as “any item or ingredient within our stream of consciousness.”
Taken in this context, it almost doesn’t matter how you read the title of the magazine: It works.
Later that day, when Bahram Akradi was telling me about what he wanted to write about in his letter this issue, the phrase “stream of consciousness,” and all these deeper internal and external meanings of the word “experience,” struck me with a new kind of velocity. It also struck me how much more Life Time Fitness is than a chain of fitness clubs, and how much more this publication is than a fitness magazine. It is, I guess, more of an Experience Life magazine.
However you care to interpret our title, our intent – at the magazine and throughout the organization – remains the same: To offer you the information, tools and resources you need to build a healthier body, a more complete experience, and a more satisfying life.