Can an experimentation mindset lead to a rich life?
Experimenting your way to a rich life. Sound like a novel idea? Obtaining a life full of the joys, the results you desire through experimentation. Never actually failing, but instead understanding when you’re not getting the outcome expected, change what you are doing; you change the experiment. Review the procedures, tweak the processes, adjust a variable, and try again and again until you have the outcome you want. Sound familiar? Adopting an experimentation mindset to your life is a powerful tool to helping you reach that goal or dare I say “rich life.” Let’s dig a little deeper.
Life begins With Experiments
Life is full of experiments. From the beginning, babies naturally have this experimentation mindset. They want to put everything in their mouths, touch things, learn to crawl then walk, and the list goes on and on. Many of these experiments end in failure or a result that the baby or parents don’t like. Many times these unwanted results require no additional experimentation, or the penalty of failure is greater than the desire we were trying to achieve. If the experiment does go on, we make changes in hopes of a different outcome. But we are experimenters. Learning to walk we fall many times, but the drive pushes us to continue. We see others walking, so we know the result is achievable. We stay with the experiment until we’ve mastered the basics that allow us to walk instead of crawling. At the conclusion of an experiment either the procedures become a habit, we reach the desired outcome, the value of the outcome wains or we transfer the experiment to someone or something else as applicable.
What is an experiment?
Wikipedia defines an experiment as “… a procedure carried out to support, refute, or validate a hypothesis." Even better though is the second sentence about experiments that “… provide insight into cause-and-effect by demonstrating what outcome occurs when a particular factor is manipulated.” (Full Wikipedia Definition) We start out wanting to achieve something. We want some result or effect. The experimenter needs to step back and define what the expected outcome is and commence determining the ways (causes) we can get there. The insight into cause and effect, and manipulating factors or variables being the most powerful words in the statement. If we seek improvement, then we need to inject thought into our goals; brainstorm a multitude of ways to achieve the goal and set forth experimenting our way to accomplishment.
Areas To Experiment With
One area to turn your experimentation mindset loose on is nutrition. Already loaded with procedures and variables is the act of feeding ourselves. The only things missing are the recording of data, measurements, and analysis. There are many reasons to experiment with your nutrition. You could be in search of more energy, clear skin, uncovering that six pack, and much more. I know I’ve been after the six pack and energy my self. But whatever the reason, you’ll have the most success treating it like an experiment. Being consistent with the procedures. Watching and recording the variables. Charting your expected results. It doesn’t have to be the final goal, but if you’re at 223 pounds, for example, and you think your optimum weight is 180 then set the initial result of 200 pounds as an example. What are the variables you’re working with? Since we’re talking nutrition here, we’ll leave the exercise stuff out for now and look at the foods.
Recording of Data
The first experiment might be to cut sugary drinks out and replace with lemon water. If you’re fully into the experiment then recording results is a must. You can record everything you eat and drink for the week on paper or in an app. I like MyFitnessPal but have previously used MyPlate. Other variables you’ll want to record at the start and various periods during the experiment may include: daily caloric intake, weight and tape measurements for the calf, thigh, hips, waist, and arm. For calf, thigh and arm do one and stay consistent with the selection. It’s also good to use an identifier (mole, scar, etc.) or placement strategy (four fingers down from knee) as a way to hit the same location each time.
Measuring the Results
Run your experiment for a week then measure and see what results you’ve achieved. The more things you can track and measure the better. In the case of weight-loss, you can use the scale, measuring tape, skin-fold caliper, all of them for example. If your expected result was a 1-pound drop in weight and you hit it, celebrate. If your results were off, then look to see what the possible reasons are. You’ve got all the data. The data collection is your biggest advantage, but only if you take the time to analyze it.
The more data you have, the more directions the analysis can take and the more changes or experimentation you can do. You may look and see that you ate three high-calorie lunches out with the coworkers. This placed a lot of extra calories on the daily and weekly total ruining the experiment. For the next, experiment you decide to eat smaller and healthier when out for lunch.
Now that you’re the “experimenter” you can decide to do more advanced experiments:
- Eliminating gluten or dairy from my nutrition plan while tracking how I feel throughout the day
- Eliminating the whites (high starch, high glycemic index carbs)
- Do I burn fat better on a low-carb or a ketosis style diet
- Fasting or intermittent fasting
The nutrition world is your’s to play with.
Experiments on My Journeys
Here are the experiments that I’ve run or have been running in an effort to improve my Areas of Life. Let me know if you see something interesting and would like to know more about it. Possibly in a future blog post.
- Move to whole grain bread, pasta. (Giving up the whites)
- Move to diet sodas (I drink mostly water with and without lemon now; although sometimes at the movies I still get my Coke Zero...:)
- Move to artificial sweeteners
- Intermittent fasting
- 5-2 diet
- Low carb diet
- Keto diet
- Above with a free-day
- Weight lifting
- Various Exercise DVDs
- Kettle bells
- Franklin Covey’s system of prioritization
- David Allen’s ‘Get It Done’
- Various Apps supporting the above
- Creating my own “side-hustle productivity system”
- Morning routines (see Are morning routines just a load of crap?)
- Going self-employed and then single member LLC (my main hustle)
- Developing an App, with RAILS, on my own
- Developing an App with methodologies learned at The Foundation
- Creating an online business (budding side-hustle) with training from "I Will Teach You To Be Rich" and "Location Rebel"
- Being a writer, author, blogger
As you can see, my experiments cover a wide area and sure many have failed. However, there are a lot of happy wins there also.
The Wrap Up
Well, I’ve written a lot. I could write much more on some of the individual topics, but not here. Hopefully, you now know that becoming the “experimenter” in your life can help in reaching many of your goals. Having that experimentation mindset keeps the fear of failure away. The experimenter knows there is lessons and insight gained even in a failed test.
Let me know in the comments below what some of your best experiments in life have been. The legal, PG stuff that is...
Hope this leads to a positive step on your Rich Life Journey!