When we want to change a habit, be more productive or improve ourselves, we usually head over to the experts. What do they advocate and how should I do it? They have difficult programs, expensive courses and nice books. We try what they do, discover it doesn’t work on us and throw it away. On to the next expert. Obvious, this isn’t going to work. We will get stuck in a circle of trying, quitting and trying something new. Instead of only trying proven methods, we should improve methods, tweak what experts do, set their method to our hand.
Change the way you try new methods
When you discover a new method, you should read about it and try it out. But if it doesn’t work, you shouldn’t quit and throw it away, you should try the same method again, but in a slightly different way. Analyze what happened when you were trying a method, where did it go wrong? Change it over there. For example, Leo Babauta tried Getting Things Done, but couldn’t implement it in his system, because he had to change too many habits at once. He didn’t threw GTD away, he looked back, asked himself why it wasn’t working and improved the method. He invented Zen To Done, where you only have to change one habit at the time. He changed the method, tried it again and wrote a complete new book about it.
Out of the box
Experimenting sounds obvious, but there are only so few people who actually experiment with tactics and methods. Those are the ones who actually invent new methods, those are the real experts. Why there are only so few? Because it is hard. We don’t want to think about why things are wrong. We just want to assume: ‘That method doesn’t work for me, let’s try another one’. It is so easy to say. Looking back at where it went wrong forces you to look for mistakes, to rethink processes. We don’t want to be confronted by mistakes.
Besides that, we need to think out of the box. For experimenting with new tactics you need to think differently; you need to think in solutions, not in problems. Thinking out of the box can be hard, because it isn’t comfort. Experimenting with yourself isn’t comfort. We want to do what we like, and don’t try too hard to become any better, because we have to put too much effort in it. We want to become better though, I’ve already pointed that out, people read a lot about methods to improve yourself and tactics. But we never put it in action that much, which means we can actually change ourselves, we don’t try a system for more than a week, because it requires effort and lost of comfort.
Get out of your comfort zone.
Do something crazy. Is there snow outside? Make a snow-angel. Tim Ferriss says you need to lay down on the ground at a busy street to get out of your comfort zone. Just lay down at the street, when someone asks you what you are doing say: ‘I just felt like lying down for a while.’ Act crazy, find ways to get out of your comfort zone. It will make the experimenting process easier.
How experimenting eventually give you comfort.
When you experiment with methods, with yourself, you will find comfort eventually. Because you will find a method which works. You want to learn speedreading, but it never worked out? When you eventually start to experiment, tweak methods and you will find something that works, you will be happy. You will enjoy the satisfaction of completing something.
Put this in action. Write down something you want to learn, right now. Something which you’ve tried to learn before, but it didn’t work out because you didn’t experiment. Write the methods down you’ve tried. Look back at it, find what went wrong. Experiment by tweaking methods, combining methods or by inventing a complete new method. When you do, write it down. Write down your findings, with the result. Is the result positive? You might have invented a new method! Be proud, feel happy. Experimenting will make us better persons.
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