Every day we wake up and get to try something new.
I consciously try to run a few experiments every day. As a physicist, I'm wired to experiment in all areas of my life. Life Experiment is my framework to avoid living a boring life.My experiments are all over the place:
Trying new food (that's easy).
Tracking time for two years in 15min slots (requires patience).
What minimal amount of possessions do I really need?
Shorter hikes after work.
Improving online brand one step at a time.
Daily journaling since 2015.
I could go on and on what you can try every day. But I'm here to convince you that you might want to give the experimentation approach a shot. You can start small:
Move/clean your working desk a bit.
Try stepping on your right leg instead of the left one when you wake up.
Or try large changes the point is that you try something new every day. Yes, it's that easy. You only "fail" if you didn't do something different in each day.Every time I try something new, I ask my self. Do I like it? If yes I keep it, if not I revert to my old routine. By continuously running small experiments, I achieved massive changes in my life. Give small experiments a shot, and you can achieve large changes too.
There was no turning point for me that I could point to. What really made a difference was sticking with Bullet Journaling process since 2015 and reflecting on what I changed every day. Then reflecting on that and reflecting on that reflection. So yeah basically:With a lot of sitting and thinking. Thinking and sitting.Pen, paper and peace. OK, maybe a tea house 😉 That's it. Then the sky is the limit.Achieving change is hard, and it takes effort and time. Yet we still wish to change things in our lives, but we quite often fail to achieve those changes.
Why do we fail?
We try to implement recipes. Everyone is selling/telling us that we should do: A, B, C, ... and our life will magically be ... Maybe the tricks those people sell worked for them. Due to their unique skillset, set of experiences or pure luck. But there's no guarantee that those tricks will work for you.So Life Experiment will be the cure for all of your productivity troubles? Most probably not. In the best-case scenario, Life Experiment will give you the basis to figure out what's best for you.All I can hope to teach you is how to ensure that you experiment and make changes every day. You are the only one that can decide what to change and how. All I can hope to achieve is to guide you over some of the obstacles.
Why small experiments?
I always wanted to upgrade my lifestyle frequently, but somehow I always failed. But then at one point, it clicked. Surprisingly all books that I read on personal development, productivity porn tricks, ... didn't do the job for me.Since experimentation, observation and analysis were hammered into my head during the physics studies; I simply decided to apply my unique skill set to the personal development too.As I kept trying new things, I started to notice that occasionally certain habits and changes stuck with me. Changes and habits that stuck weren't random. What stuck were things that I've been building on step by step for years—one tiny step at a time.I noticed that one thing consistently worked in all areas of my life. Building habits, working on large projects, ... One Incremental change at the time. One change after another for years.It's pretty embarrassing how easy it is to push forward if we keep that in mind.
Is there a quicker fix?
You're thinking right now that this is a bunch of crap. This guy is telling me that if I follow a specific routine of incremental changes, I'll get where I want? But don't take my word for it.Just examine your past life. You definitely had a situation in the past where one of your skills gradually improved due to your consistent effort.So yes there's no silver bullet that will make you fit (or insert any other goal hear) overnight. You simply have to decide where you want to go. Then patiently work towards that goal day in day out. In fact, the process is pretty dull.So we do one small change a day in the direction we want to go, and that's it?Yes.
If it's so easy, then why isn't everyone doing it?
There's a caveat that has to do with our human nature. We, humans, fool ourselves pretty quickly. We love shortcuts. But every time we take a shortcut, we end up taking the longer path to get to our goal.When we make little progress each day, it can really feel demoralising at the end of the day. We can feel like we didn't achieve anything. That's what makes the process of incremental change hard to stick with despite its effectiveness.What can we do? We need to fool the inner lazy monkey in our head and convince it that:As long as we make an incremental change each day we'll reach our desired destination.Unless you went through such process before in your life, you'll have trouble getting it right for a while. Your rational self simply won't trust the process. To be quite frank every time I review the small changes that I'm making, I ask my self:How the hell on Earth will this make a difference?By now, I know from experience that specific little change will make a difference in the long run, as long as I keep making small changes for a longer period. In some sense:You need to let go. You need to go with the flow.I dare to claim that all of my accomplishments in life (I think there were a few) were the result of Incremental change. Other actions like quick hacks didn't make the difference. So forget about them. Incremental change approach won't show it's effects for a while. Depending on what you are trying to tackle, it might take months, years to see the positive impact of your efforts.Although I would say to no matter what you try, you should see at least see some progress every month.So unless you are willing to play the long game (or can't afford it) then don't use incremental change. Do quick fixes that will break and fail over the long run. In the end, you'll lose more time if you go through the quick fix path.
How the heck do you motivate your self to stay on track?
Just believe me. Keep doing incremental changes. It works.I hope you didn't buy that crap. You should question every aspect of this nonsense statement. But it holds right? Yes. But before you can trust the process of incremental change, you need to go through it and see that it works.I learned my lesson while photographing, coding, studying physics, public speaking, writing, leading teams, leading projects. I mastered those skills as a result of systematic, incremental change and little progress. Pick your topic/direction and then just keep improving, day in day out.