The Importance of Experimenting

One thing seems to be common in every successful person is the willingness to experiment and try new ways, even try things that have never been done before.

Taking risks is often associated with experimenting but the fact is most succesful people take calculated risk, rarely do they put everything on the line. The best risks are the risks where there limited downside but unlimited upside keep that in mind. Successful people calculate what that limited downside is (losing x Dollars, wasting x amount of Time, …) and then either go all in or stay away.

Often we fear embarrassment much more than losing some money or time keep that in mind. We act of fail to act in order to protect our Ego, when we see something as potentially damaging our reputation we automatically disregard it. There is no way around it every successful person that made it big risked to get laughed at (and most did) it’s a price worth paying.

Here are some of the most important points to keep in mind about experiments:

  • Dont run the experiment for too short nor for too long, 3 Months is a good time frame. It is long enough to establish a new habit (it takes about 67 days)  but short enough to not waste your time.
  • Have a plan. Write out the important steps you need to take.
  • Pin point possible failure-points. Identify the obstacles that you will face. And make a strategy on how to get around them.
  • Find a way to measure your progress. You need to know if your effort bares fruits.
  • Get other people involved, it helps to bounce around ideas with other people.
  • There is no failed experiment you only fail when you don’t learn anything from it.
  • Be aware of the fact that most experiments fail, and that there is nothing bad about it.
  • Make sure that you stay in the game after you failed. Dont make bets that are so huge that you are out of the game, be sure that even when you fail you have the capacity to try again.
  • Dont stick to it for too long, we often fall in love with a business idea and don’t want to let it go, this will cost you a lot of time. Keep your Ego in check, don’t be afraid to quit something that does not work ( read The Dip by Seth Godin on that).
  • Seek honest Feedback and be humble enough to take it. You need to build trust for people to give you their honest opinion.
  • You can experiment in every area of life and don’t just stick to something because it worked in the past or because it is comfortable.