On Life as an Experiment

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Whether consciously or subconsciously, we conduct experiments everyday in our lives.

  • Taking a new route to work.
  • Trying out a new recipe.
  • Trying out a new business idea.

“The Lens of Experimentation”

The benefit of looking at decisions through this lens of “experimentation” lessens the perceived risk of failure.

Why is that important?

In general, we’re pretty risk-averse creatures, especially when it comes to risk of loss. But most losses aren’t life-threatening, and when weighed with the potential upside, can be valuable learning experiences.

And I think this experiment mentality can applied positively all over the place.

What do I mean?

With each decision, you’re basically testing some hypothesis in your mind. In contrast, a mentality that pits success against failure has a scarier downside.

Nobody likes to fail.

For example, when I started investing with Prosper.com, my hypothesis was my money could earn a greater return than it would sitting in savings.

If it doesn’t work, all that happened was I disproved my hypothesis.

Viewed in a different context, the lost money could be seen as a failed investment. I guess the end result is the same in either situation, but when seen as an experiment, there’s more attention put on learning and testing a new hypothesis next time, instead of dwelling on the lost money.

(That was just an example; my Prosper investments are still doing well — more on that soon.)

This is my sunny outlook:

There’s no such thing as a failed experiment. Just stuff that didn’t go the way you expected.

Then you can learn from it, formulate a new hypothesis, and try something else.

Like a boss.

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