5 Benefits of Adopting an Experimental Mindset

Learn something. Try something. Improve something. Repeat.

Michael Thompson
Mar 19, 2018 · 6 min read
Photo courtesy of Mitchell Jordan — follow him on Instagram

We have never been inundated with more information. Access to anything we have ever wanted to learn is a click away.

We can learn from the greatest minds in the world by listening to Tim Ferriss.

We can learn how to be a better communicator by subscribing to Conor Neill on Youtube.

And we can learn how to build out a blog and monetize it by observing Tom Kuegler right here on Medium (BTW — he is about to launch a free virtual summit (tomorrow) were he interviewed some of today’s greatest minds including, Chris Brogan and some of Medium’s rising stars— Anthony Moore, Tiffany Sun, Tim Denning and Frank McKinley — sign-up here and I will see you there).

However, all the knowledge in the world is worthless, if we do not follow the words from Clausewitz in the title of this article — and turn knowledge into capability.

“It is necessary to combine knowledge born from study with sincere practice in our daily lives. These two must go together.” — Dalai Lama

I used to think that my greatest strength was my curiosity. However, this was a lie.

True curiosity, like the Dalai Lama alluded to above, is a combination of both being a student — and being a doer. Up until about two years ago, I was only a student. I would spend my days learning, but I rarely put into practice the words that resonated with me, and when I did, I never followed it up by sharing what I learned with the world to get feedback.

Being eager to learn is important. However, in order to begin making the switch from good to great, you must take your curiosity two steps further.

You must tinker with what you are learning, and you must take the time to evaluate the results of, “said tinkering,” in order to make the necessary adjustments on the road to right — aka becoming a “thoughtful doer” (how I interpret the Dalia Lama’s words of “sincere practice”).

In order to do this you must adopt an, “experimental mindset,” which consists of three steps: learning, testing (putting your ideas out into the world) and evaluating.

I have received one too many comments from people who are too scared to share their work. Below is my sales pitch as to why you should learn from my mistake of staying silent for too long and get your work out into the world today — in order to make better work tomorrow.

The internet is filled with “failure” pornography, and for good reason, those that shout the benefits of not being scared to fail are dead right. People rarely get things right the first time and they definitely do not get things right if they do not try new things in the first place (loads of truth to the saying, “Showing up is 80% of life).

Scientist get paid to experiment.

Salesmen get paid to make 100 calls a day in the hopes of landing a few good leads.

Their job is to fail over and over again, and they are allowed to get away with it as long as they take the time to learn why they failed, so they can eventually get it right.

When you approach everything you do as an experiment, you begin to respect failure, and see it as an integral part of the process as it helps you to determine just one more way not to do something.

There are some exceptions to this rule, but the more research I do in regards to achieving success, the more I come across the idea of embracing being a “patient failure.”

Learn something. Try something. Improve something. Repeat.

I hate sharing my work. 18 months have passed since I first began writing in ernest, and I every time I have something new to say, I make some self-deprecating joke about how bad my work is when I post it on social. However, recently a buddy opened my eyes to just how stupid and selfish this way of thinking is:

“You are the same person that advised me months ago to end everyday by asking myself what went well, and what went bad, so I could better identify where I need to focus.

Yet, here you are sitting in front of me today, complaining about sharing your work when you have the opportunity to ask 4000 people everyday for their opinion on what you are doing.

Do you know how lucky you are to be in that position of having an audience that wants you to do your best work.

F*ck man, wake up.”

I cannot count the number of messages I have received since I began sharing what I am learning with ideas of how I could make it better.

These comments have done me a world of good.

As a new writer they have helped me to learn how to better communicate my ideas.

They have also fed me with new ideas for future articles (and momentum is everything).

Most importantly, they have restored my faith in humanity, because they have taught me that most people want to see me succeed.

Of equal or greater importance -

One of the side effects of going after your dreams (which is exactly what learning, testing and evaluating is) is that you are more supportive of others who are going after theirs.

If you know what you want, and are taking the unsexy steps to actually get it, why would you stand in the way of someone else who is doing the same?

For too long I was jealous of my friends who were moving forward with their lives. However, the day I made a decision to actually start putting into action what I was learning, all of those feelings went away.

Today I want my friends to have successful Youtube channels. I want my friends to be successful coaches. I want my friends to get published in big-name magazines and make a living doing what they love.

And our relationships have improved because we do not see our relationships as competitive, but supportive.

I have a buddy that has a knack for starting companies and choosing the right ones to back.

He is not a genius, but he is methodical.

He has a process that consists of trial and error, and over time has internalised how to minimize the errors to get things moving in a positive direction with greater speed.

The same goes for our careers.

We all want to have our dream job, but most people do not test and then re-evaluate possibilities in order to get closer to that dream.

The most important word in “finding your dream job” or “finding your passion” is not the word, “dream” or “passion.”

It is the word, “finding.”

Finding your passion is a search.

Finding your dream job means looking at the bright side of dead ends and taking what you have learned in another direction.

Anything worth having is a search and what you are looking for is best found by following the “experimental mindset” of — learning, testing and evaluating.

Stay Curious.

Thanks for reading, sharing and following! :)

Liked this article? Check out mikethompsonblog.com for more articles, creative resources and more.

How to be your best self.

Michael Thompson

Written by

Co-creator of 2 boys with my dream girl • Career coach • Business Insider, Fast Co., INC • Barcelona • Say hi on Linkedin here https://bit.ly/3vtJ1df


Make tomorrow better today.

Michael Thompson

Written by

Co-creator of 2 boys with my dream girl • Career coach • Business Insider, Fast Co., INC • Barcelona • Say hi on Linkedin here https://bit.ly/3vtJ1df


Make tomorrow better today.

Medium is an open platform where 170 million readers come to find insightful and dynamic thinking. Here, expert and undiscovered voices alike dive into the heart of any topic and bring new ideas to the surface. Learn more

Follow the writers, publications, and topics that matter to you, and you’ll see them on your homepage and in your inbox. Explore

If you have a story to tell, knowledge to share, or a perspective to offer — welcome home. It’s easy and free to post your thinking on any topic. Write on Medium

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store