Why I hate “goals” and instead create experiments

 

I easily slip into type-A, perfectionistic, fear-driven, hyper-caring tendencies.

Goals are like gasoline for these self-destructive and creativity squashing behaviors.

A specific finish line that must be met at all costs.

For me, goals are a recipe for misery and burnout!

6 years ago, I began switching to “experiments” and woah… my entire experience of living and creating in the world changed radically!

Now, I choose to create my life one experiment after another.

​​​​​​​Experiments help me to feel freedom from the pressure to have it all figured out. They ease all of those behaviors of hyper-achievement and doing things the “right” way.

This is absolutely vital when going off the typical path and venturing into the wild unknown! Embracing the unknowingness of doing things differently.

From doing thousands of experiments, I’ve noticed 5 important elements:

1. Choose a simple container. 1 email? 1 evening? 1 week? By choosing designated parameters, the unknowingness doesn’t have to feel forever. But don’t get too stuck on these details. Just pick something simple and give it a try!

2. Start ASAP! Do the smallest step while you feel the initial jolt of inspiration. Leap before you’re ready. And after the container of time is complete, you are now free to choose something else! This creates ultra fast growth and massive learning because it gets you in action right away.

3. Make it a game! Remember when you were 4 yrs old and you received a new toy? Did you want to play until you read the full set of instructions? NO! You brought a sense of playfulness and a beginner’s mindset to exploring this new wonderfully foreign object! You can choose to approach experiments in this same way.

4. Fail fast and often. Seek out failure. Celebrate the mistakes. We’re conditioned to avoid doing something wrong. But, there’s so many valuable learnings in the uncharted territories. If you stay with what’s “right” and comfortable, you squash possibilities that have never been done before. Use failure as fuel for innovation.

5. Experiment like a tennis player vs. a swimmer. As a tennis player, once you hit the ball to the other side, it’s key to stay on your toes, ready to pivot and respond based on how the ball comes back. A swimmer on the other hand, stays in a linear lane and goes all out til they reach the finish line. A swimmers approach is great when you’re going full steam after a very clear, specific goal. However, with experiments, there are a lot of unknown factors. The ball could come back in a number of different ways, so you need to stay present an ready to dance!

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