Improving your life is all about experimentation, whether it’s in the realm of productivity, personal finance, sleep, or anything else. Even if you ultimately fail, you’ll probably have learned something.
You’ve probably heard “don’t be afraid of failure” before, but I like to bring it down to the little micro-experiments I run all the time. Maybe it’s the try until you find your productivity style, or maybe it’s attempting to wake up a half hour earlier. Even if these experiments fail after a few weeks or months, you probably still got something out of it—whether it was this popular social network/task/project management service is not for me or the knowledge that I need better(not more) sleep.
Experimentation = taking action = Growth
I’ve experimented with downloading and trying a lot of productivity software on desktop (worked for a year then crashed and burned), tried convincing myself to sleep on time to wake up early (lasted few months), tracking time spent on laptop (uninstalled app finally since Chrome was more than 90% of time used app), and even tracking every dollar spent on baby (worked until baby #2 came along.)
As you can see I haven’t always succeeded in the end, but you can bet that I’m better for having tried. Because unlike only taking away knowledge with productivity experimenting, you usually happen to walk away with a learning of your own style. So it’s really win-win all around.
So don’t save your experiments for New Year’s resolutions. Try adopting a new small habit now—if it works, you’ve improved your life a little bit. If not, you’ve at least taken a step toward doing so.
Failure is the cost you pay to be right
If you’re focused on building a new habit or learning a new skill or mastering a craft of any type, then you’re basically experimenting in one way or another. Your failures are simply data points that can help lead you to the right answer.
And I wouldn’t hesitate accepting this, being able to enthusiastically fail at things and learn from my mistakes has probably been the greatest secret to my success.