Small Experiments and Testing
I believe the quality of our life depends on the experiences we have. Yes, there are circumstances and situations external to our direct control that undoubtedly will have an impact on the condition of our life and the experiences we are either fortunate or unfortunate enough to live through. However, what if we could influence those experiences?
Shaping them in a way that allows us to receive the benefits. Looking for the positives in any negatives and even avoiding or removing ourselves from experience that we don’t feel fit. That is why small experiments and testing in everyday life is a marvellous practice.
If the constructionist theory is correct and that as mammals, as we exist today, we are genuinely a melody of all past experiences, determining not only how we act and behave but how well we live, then what we do next should shape our future well-being.
In reflecting on my past and the many transformations that I have traversed, I can attest to this theory. I recognise that the new experiences and moments I’ve pushed myself outside my comfort zone into unchartered territories have benefitted my state of being in profound ways. For this reason, I am driven to persist, motivated to try new things, dedicated to practice, and courageous not only to start yet also to stop.
We all know that real growth occurs outside our comfort zone. We understand that by having positive habits and behaviours will lead to a good life. The negative will be less conducive to how freely, fully and happily we live. And even in knowing we are not always effective and living in such a manner. Of course, there are some reasons for this; fear, depression, lack of confidence, excuse, blame etc.
Personally, as I discovered, what held me back from living life as I desired was a lack of integrity to how I wanted to live my life. What I wished for in life wasn’t reflected in how I was living my life. It is still a challenge, but I am becoming much, much better at being true to myself. It sounds a little quirky just writing it, but it’s how I feel.
I allowed my mind to rule my life. That is where fear, excuse, blame and all those other limiting thoughts arise. I heard Tony Robbins say that a practice that has to lead him to healthier pastures in life was when he stopped negotiating with his mind. He put himself in control, in charge. That is a habit that takes persistence, courage and time to master. It has allowed me and will let anyone be more integral to their purpose.
Know what you value, know what you believe and as often as you can, in every waking moment act accordingly. We will fail, we will fall, we will think about giving up and fall back into the conditioned patterns that have been determined by the construction of our past. Know this, each time we step up again, no matter how mild or meek, we move forward, each time we do we will have a new experience. And just like each brush stroke that Leonardo Da-Vinci used to create the masterpiece that is the Mona Lisa, so can we create a masterful life.
Here is what we can do to gain a little momentum and continue in a positive trajectory in our personal life – experiment and test. Because it can be daunting to have new experiences or it’s merely just more comfortable to do what we know a few strategically planned trials might help break down any barriers. Of course, this doesn’t mean we need to over-analyse everything. That can often lead to procrastination and delay. Experimenting and testing allow us to try something out without going all in and this can help ease the pressure of starting. It’s kind of like tricking the mind.
Let’s say that you want to try yoga, but you’ve never done it before. Now, before we go out and sign up to an extravagant 12-month membership plan find a way to trial it for a day or week. Many yoga practitioners offer trial periods. If that is too much, you can try doing it from your own home. There are YouTube and many other platforms like doyogawithme.com that have excellent beginner tutorials available at no cost or for a small donation.
A part of testing and experimenting is trying out different formulas to see what best work for us individually. You may find you lack the motivation or discipline to stick to a routine when starting yoga at home. You might like the idea of being a part of a group. The social aspect may be attracting not to mention the accountability and enhanced motivation that comes from a group environment. The key is to try various things and mix it up. Don’t give up easily, experiment!
What if you want to exit your current job or career in favour of following a passion? Following the same principles as above, this is possible. Find a way to do a week of work experience in the chosen field. Reach out to your connections who might be able to offer you such an opportunity. In this approach, you will undoubtedly reduce the risk of quitting a highly paid or secured job for something you may end up disliking.
If there is something that fears you more, but you have to pursue it, find a way to ease your way in by small comfortable tests. I do sometimes think that best way to overcome such vices is to jump into the deep end. However, it depends heavily on what it is you’re doing and what works best for you.
Take public speaking for example. Find a group and environment that will encourage you to take your time and support you in building up the confidence to have a go. Toastmasters is a great example. Find someone who looks experienced and asks them for advice and suggestions. Tell them how you feel, and it is likely that they will look after you. Again, small tests and experiments will assist you to build up experience and with experience will come to the change you desire.
I could certainly share a bunch more examples, yet I think you understand. Experimenting and testing is the best way I know to seek out and deploy new experience in life. And experience is what will shape the future paths we tread and ultimately the quality of life we live.
What I’d like to do in the next post is share some more thoughts on how to make taking up new challenges or experiences more comfortable and achievable. I hope you’ve enjoyed this post. Please share your comments and ideas below.
Further Reading and Resources