I know the thing on social media is to pretend that you have your life all together, to seem and appear as if your life flows in perfect harmony made up only of fun and good times. I however, do not have my life all together. Not even a little bit. Nine times out of ten it’s a mess, and I am utterly and completely winging it. You could call it chaos, you could call it “learning as you go”. Realistically, it is a combination of the two along with a sprinkle of faith and a dash of hope.
I am, by nature, a “safe” person. I like predictability, I like patterns, and I like control. Even my spontaneity is typically planned, and I have to overcome a great deal of anxiety if I come up against last-minute changes. You would think that with all of the changes life poses I would instinctively be more flexible instead of having to mentally rationalize every unforeseen circumstance to prevent having some kind of breakdown, but…I can’t always help it. This is who I am.
This year, whether intentional or not, I began to see myself as an experiment. I began to realize that control is just an illusion. If we have an ounce of control in this world, it truly lies only in how we respond to the things that go on within us and around us. And if we are to respond with grace and purpose, and not out of impulse or fear or anger, we must be what I naturally am not – flexible. We must not only be flexible and forgiving with those around us, but also with ourselves. We must see ourselves as being in a constant state of evolution…of learning…of growth.
Seeing yourself as an experiment removes the pressure of expected perfection and instead replaces it with room for wonder, hope, and excitement.
No one expects an experiment to be perfect – it’s an experiment. It’s a test to see whether or not something works. If it works, great. If it doesn’t, you reformulate the experiment and try again. Consider it like those TV shows where the scientist is seen mixing the contents of random test tubes. Usually, a few blow up in his face until he mixes something that is revolutionary. The same may be true of you and your life; it absolutely is true of me and mine. A few things may result in unwanted explosions, but ultimately finding out what doesn’t work leads to the discovery of what does work. Each experiment teaches you something about yourself. Each experiment is an experience, and experiences are how we grow.
To succeed in an experiment, you need only to pay attention. Ask yourself often “What did I learn from this? What can I learn from this?” Even a “failure” is a step toward success. You can’t lose here.
This principle can be applied in all areas of our lives – from the smallest of things to the biggest of things. This year, experimentation has led me to realize that I am totally a coffee drinker. It also led me to realize that so many of the negative things I spent years believing about myself just aren’t true. It has given me a project that I am always working on and something to always look forward to.
In what areas of your life can you remove unnecessary pressure and begin approaching it using an experiment mentality? What things have you been wanting to try but haven’t yet done so because of the fear of unexpected outcomes? If you ever find yourself in a position where you start to wonder whether or not something you’re doing is worth it or whether or not it will work out, simply tell yourself “it’s an experiment,” and continue on confidently in the direction of your goals.
My life is an experiment. Every day I am learning more about myself, evaluating where I can be more fearless, more creative, and more kind. Every day I am learning more about what I like, what I don’t like, what works for me, and what doesn’t work for me. Every day I am coming into who I truly am.
I don’t have it all figured out. Fear, hesitation, and worry still try to make their way into my mind. I am, daily, still winging it. But if there is one thing I know for sure, it is that I am the mad scientist of my own life. Can you say the same?