We’re in the middle of a fundamental revolution in how people improve their lives through experimentation.
In short: we now live in a world where anyone from anywhere can quickly learn from the world’s top experts for close to nothing. With affordable tools and trackers, it’s possible to rapidly test that advice to see what actually works. Finally, it’s now easy and free for people to document their stories and share it with millions of others around the world via social media.
As a result, more and more people are doing transformative life experiments, from conquering one fear a day, to learning a new skill rapidly, to even recovering their health when conventional medicine doesn’t work.
Whether you want to call it the Quantified Self movement, or Biohacking, Citizen Science, or simply Self-Experimentation, this personal experimentation revolution is transforming education, personal finance, health, dating, marriage, career growth, art, diet, lifestyle decisions, and much more.
We scoured the web for some of the most interesting self-experiments, and after sifting through hundreds, here are the 15 most inspiring ones that we found…
Want to create your own life-changing self-experiment now? I spent dozens of hours putting together this free mini-course to help you get started.
1. Intuit Employee Learns How To Draw A Freakishly Realistic Portrait In 30 Days
Max Deutsch, a product manager at Intuit, is mastering one new skill every month. His December goal was to draw a photorealistic portrait. Here’s the before and after:
2. Girl Learns How To Dance Like A Pro In a Year (TIME LAPSE)
Videographer Karen Cheng always wanted to learn how to dance, so she created a challenge for herself: become a great dancer in 365 days while documenting the transformation. The video shows her starting as an awkward dancer, practicing everywhere and everyday, and eventually getting to a place where she can perform publicly. Her day 365 video is truly inspiring!
3. Woman Does One Thing That Completely Scares Her Every Day For 100 Days
Michelle Poler decided to combat her fears head-on by creating ‘100 Days Of Fear.’ Some of her fear-busting experiments included performing at a stand up comedy show, quitting her job, and walking around NYC wearing only a bikini.
4. Guy Plays Table Tennis Every Day for a Year (And Gets A Top 250 Ranking)
Sam Priestley practiced table tennis for a year with the support of a childhood friend / table tennis coach. See how good he got after starting from scratch.
5. Mother And Daughter Lose Weight Together (33kg / 74lbs in 100 Days)
The daughter, 19, suggested to the mother that they lose the weight — together. The mother-daughter duo decided to take on a 100-day challenge, and committed to filming ten seconds of their workouts and healthy eating for over three months.
6. Two Friends Travel To Four Countries To Learn Four Languages In One Year… Without Ever Speaking English
The challenge is to live in four countries, learn four languages and attempt to speak zero English for an entire year. Using Spanish in Spain, Portuguese in Brazil, Mandarin in China and Taiwan, and Korean in Korea.
7. This 12 Year Old Girl Mastered Dubstep Dancing By Just Using Youtube
In 7 months, this 12 year old girl mastered dubstep dancing by just using YouTube. She watched, stopped, applied, and rewinded video clips of the best dubstep music dancers in the world until she mastered specific movements. Wow! I guess I don’t have an excuse to learn dancing now 🙂
8. Man Photographs Himself Meeting A New Stranger Every Day For One Year
Steinar Skipsnes made a resolution in 2016 to meet a new person every day that year. He photographed each encounter and shared them with the world, also sharing the stories of the people he met.
9. Young Man Pledges To Get Rejected Everyday For 100 Days
30-Year-Old Jia Jiang had dreams of moving from China to the US to become the next Bill Gates. A few years into his career, he realized that he wasn’t living up to his potential and one of the reasons was because he was afraid. So, he decided to film himself getting rejected for 100 days. Some of my favorite requests: asking to play soccer in a stranger’s backyard, requesting a “burger refill” at a restaurant, and asking to deliver a single pizza for Dominos. He ended the experiences with a transformative set of lessons learned that he has shared on the TED stage and in a book.
10. Personal Finance Guru Puts Her Knowledge To The Test With The ‘One Year No Spending Challenge’
In 2015, Michelle McGagh, a freelance personal finance journalist, pledged to do the impossible: survive a year without spending any money (on anything beyond the bare essentials). Here’s how her year ended up.
11. Procrastinator Commits To Running One Mile Every Day For A Year. What He Learned…
For his 2015 New Year’s Resolution, Derek Salamanca committed to running one mile everyday for the entire year. Derek was sick and tired of putting things off. The experiment proved to himself that he could do something for himself everyday that was a little bit hard, but manageable.
12. A Book Author Writing A Book On Memory Decides To Put What He’s Learning Into Practice. A Year Later, He Became The Memory Champion Of The United States
Journalist Joshua Foer was writing a book on the world’s top memory champions. He decided to take things up a notch and actually experiment with what he was learning to see if anybody could apply the memory hacks. Within a year, he became the memory champion of the United States.
13. How A Semi-Athletic Person Became A Professional Athlete In Only 2 Years
After Michelle Khare moved to Los Angeles during her college to do an internship, she was alone living in a new city. She found a ride group online and started to go there often. Then in two years, she won several races and a collegiate national she got a third place.
14. This Group Of Friends Produced A High-Quality Print Magazine Over One Weekend
“This weekend, a group of San Francisco media friends got together and produced a glossy print magazine, start to finish, in just about 48 hours. The theme was “hustle,” and they got 1,502 submissions from around the world. Their 60-page final product is now for sale online, and you can also preview the magazine’s contents. “Issue Zero” went on sale Monday night for $10, and as of this afternoon, the magazine has sold more than 1,000 copies. Printing costs for each copy are $9, and profits from the $1 markup will be divided in an innovative fashion.” — SFWeekly
15. Once A Year, For The Last 10 Years, This Woman Has Written A Novel In 30 Days
Want to create your own life-changing self-experiment now? Now that you have some inspiration, here’s a link to a free mini-course that I put together on how to be master experimenter.
This article was written with love and care using the blockbuster mental model.