How you see the world defines what it is like for you.
On one of my longer runs (21 kilometers, I think) this summer, I was listening to podcasts by Steve Pavlina. I’m not sure how I ended up uploading them to my iPod, as I haven’t been an active reader of Steve’s blog for quite a while, and I think his stuff often goes to extremes that I find hard to agree with. But here I was, listening to Steve talk about fear. It was an interesting talk about how you can learn to control and overcome your fears, first by practicing, and then, ultimately, by changing how you see the world.
He said that the world we see is a reflection of what we believe the world to be, and I had to agree with him: you notice the things you want to see, and don’t see the rest. After that, Steve continued to topics that I found hard to swallow, and once again, I dropped out, not ready to buy into the idea that all this world is is a creation of my own mind and the rest of you don’t really exist outside my head.
But I did listen through the podcast, and at the end, Steve said something that got me thinking: after switching to this new world view, he has been more eager than ever to experiment with life and to try and learn the rules of this dream, as he calls it.
That, I agree with Steve, is a great way to live the life, no matter how you believe this world to function: test your assumptions, and by doing so, try to get closer to understanding what really works in this world and what doesn’t. Don’t be afraid to fail every now and then. If nothing else, this approach will turn into an interesting life!
If you have been following this blog for a while, you already know about some of the experiments I have tried in the past. But there are more coming as I try to learn and cultivate this approach of looking at the world as a series of science experiments and projects, following in the footsteps of my experimentation heroes. Just look at these things Tim Ferris, Steve Pavlina and the others have been experimenting with:
Tim Ferris’s blog is subtitled “Experiments in lifestyle design” so it’s clear that now we are at the core of the experimental lifestyle. While I’m not interested in everything Tim is interested in (like body building, for example), I enjoy reading his posts because of what they teach me about living an experiment. Check out these posts, for example:
- Vibram Five Fingers Shoes: The Barefoot Alternative. (I am trying out these shoes as we speak, so expect to read a post about them on this blog in a week or two)
- The Holy Grail: How to Outsource the Inbox and Never Check Email Again. (This is the stuff Tim is most famous about. But once again, it’s a result of experimenting with different ways to handle your communication. Not something he “just knew” from the start)
- How to Learn (But Not Master) Any Language in 1 Hour. (You thought learning a new language takes years of practice? Think again.)
Tim’s blog is full of examples like these three, so make sure to check it as a reference if you plan to start working on a more experimental approach to life.
I already talked a lot about Steve in this post, but to me he is the archetype of the experimental mind. To Steve, nothing in this world is set to stone and everything that can be tested, should be tested. Here are some of my favorites from Steve’s experiments:
- How to Become an Early Riser. (This post got me excited about waking up earlier and using my mornings more effectively. But talking about experimental living, the next one is what we should really be doing…)
- Polyphasic Sleep. (Make sure to follow through the whole experiment!)
- Raw Food Diet. (Just like the polyphasic sleep experiment above, this is something I don’t think I could pull off. But definitely a great example of the experimental attitude to life)
- 30 Days to Success. (This is the powerful principle behind Steve’s experiments: trying things for 30 days to see what happens and then deciding whether to keep the habit or not)
You and I
Enough about famous experimenters. What about you and I? How can we nurture and grow an attitude of experimentation?
I was planning to put in a list of actionable steps for starting to live an experiment but then realized that that would sound too much like I already knew how to do it. I’m still experimenting with experimenting, so all I can do is to share my tips as I learn them, and encourage you to give this a shot as well! Let’s try this out.
So, what are you experimenting with today?