Experiment With Your Life
On Sept 24th 2017 I published my first Medium.com article as an experiment to see what it would feel like to write one article per week until the end of 2017. Today is Dec. 30th 2017, the last Sunday of the year.
For my final article for this experiment, I thought I’d write on the topic of experiments and what I’ve learned so far.
I’ve recently became a fan of using experiments in daily life. I’ve always thought they’re a good idea in general, but I never really actively thought about their usefulness in daily life. I’m not sure if other people have either. I’m guessing the reason we don’t is because 1. We were never taught to do so by our parents or our educational system. 2. We have the false belief that we already know what we want and what is good for us, therefore we think there’s no need to experiment.
As I experience life, I’m slowly realizing that most of the time we don’t really know what we will like or not like until we actually try it. When programming was first suggested to me, I didn’t think I’d like it. I used to think, “Sitting in one place and writing code 8 hours a day? No thanks!” But surprisingly when desperation kicked in and I had to force myself to learn it, it wasn’t that bad. No where in my naive comprehension did I see the intrinsic rewards of learning, growth, solving puzzles, and instant feedback. In my mind all I saw were hours of “boringness”. The intrinsic rewards were invisible to me from the outside.
I think that insight is the key insight of this article. Most any activity we pursue will be nuanced and multidimensional, be it making music, writing articles, cleaning house, etc. There are so many facets that can be focused on. Our lack of experience could cause us to focus on the “boring” facets, therefore miss the stronger positive facets. Therefore, by experimenting and actually doing the thing, we put ourselves in the thick of it to really experience the various facets.
So what have I learned so far with this “writing articles” experiment? I’m finding that I really enjoy the idea sharing my “principles”. I didn’t have an agenda on what I wanted to write about. I could havewritten about anything, but I found myself defaulting to sharing ideas of principles in life and success. The fact that I defaulted to this topic is an interesting insight into my own mind. I’m guessing that is what is most important to me (I think 90% of the time I was writing on topics that I wanted to remember most).
What also excited me was the thought that maybe one day my grandchildren, or great, great, great grandchildren could read what I write. I probably wont be able to see the ones further down the line, but the idea that they can still learn from me when I’m long gone is kind of fun to think about.
So far it seems that I like the idea of sharing principles on success in life, and the idea of sharing myself with posterity, but what I didn’t like was how time consuming this was. Each article I wrote took about 1–3 hours every Sunday. I would write it, reread it, trim it, reread it, etc. I didn’t want to put something with sloppy grammar, poor fluency, etc (though I’m sure there still are!), but that came at the cost of time.
At this point I’ve been thinking what should I do next? Do I love this process enough that I want to dedicate 1–3 hours every Sunday to continue this practice? Or do I want to kill it? I’m not sure. I’m trying to see if there are other ways for me accomplish the same goals while saving myself time. Maybe I’ll start vlog, or maybe a podcast, both of which will allow me to speak freely on the same ideas with the same ability to reach posterity and not worry about writing with perfect grammar. I haven’t decided yet, but who knows, maybe for my next experiment I’ll try this in podcast form.
And so, I’ll close out this post. I say do your own experiments. Be clear on what you want to test out, set a specific and sufficient time period for your experiment to play out, then set up a routine for you try out the experiment. What ever plan you come up, just make sure there’s a specific time, and specific steps. The last thing you want to do is confuse your “elephant”. It might seem logical to your “rider” but if it’s not denominated in steps and plans that your elephant can feel comfortable with, you’re going to fail.
Let me share two more recent experiments. I just finished a “100 Days of Gratitude” on Instagram yesterday :) That was a fantastic experience. There were maybe 2 or 3 days when I really didn’t want to post anything, but because I had made the decision to do it long ago, I had to really stop and think about what I was grateful for. I had also made the decision at the start that every post had to be genuine. I couldn’t just say something generic, just for the sake of meeting my obligation. And so, for every day, the past 100 days, I genuinely thought about what I was grateful for and posted about it. I loved it. It helped me connect with my friends more. It helped them get a bit more into my mind. 99% of the time, I feel like I don’t see 100% of my friends as much as I would want to, so it’s great to be able to share a bit of myself with them each day.
My other experiment is sleeping between 6pm and 12am. This has been a fascinating experiment. It doesn’t end until March 11th, 2018, but so far I’m actually liking this. My productivity has felt amazing. To have 6 hours of continuous productivity has been an amazing feeling. If it wasn’t for the fact that social life happens after 7pm, I would totally do this for the reset of my life. Who knows maybe after March 11th I’ll come up with a variation of this.
An experiment I want to play with next is fasting. The more I learn about fasting the more intrigued I become. I find the potential health benefits fascinating. I feel blessed to not have any chronic pains or illnesses at the moment, but I still want to do it for mental clarity. The longest I’ve fasted so far is 48 hours, and man that was tough. I’m very tempted to try a 5 or 7 day fast (If you one day never hear from me again, you’ll know why!). I haven’t set a time and date yet, but it’ll likely happen in 2018.
Alright guys, here’s to an amazing 2017! (I’m not so optimistic about 2018, though I think it’s going to be great in a reverse kind of way.) I wish you guys many great experiments, adventures, success, and growth.