Financial Planning

Micro Experiments

How can you know you’re living the life you’re supposed to be living if you never try anything new? 

The status quo can be comfortable and we are creatures who seek comfort, safety, and consistency. Stepping out of the status quo, even if we are unhappy with it, brings on unknowns that most individuals want to avoid, so many never get to experience different versions of their Self and who they could become, how they could better serve others, and increase the impact they could make on the world.

What if instead of making a big leap from the status quo to an unknown version of your Self, you were constantly conducting micro experiments by following your interests, passions, and ideas to experience different versions of your Self in small ways?

You don’t have to abandon the life you’ve created and risk it all–instead you could bring interests and passions to your life one micro experiment at a time guiding you toward your authentic life.

Let’s say you have an interest in photography… 

Your first micro experiment could be committing to taking three pictures a day with your iPhone (or Android if that’s your flavor), editing, and sharing the photos on social media. This micro experiment will allow you to explore what it is like to be a photographer and see if you actually enjoy it and determine if you should pursue it further.

The results of your micro experiments will determine your next experiment–sometimes leading to another micro experiment taking you further into the new interest and other times leading you toward a different interest  :

Did you enjoy it?

Did it come easy?

What was the feedback from others (not that it matters too much but it can help in this experiment)?

Do you want to take pictures more often?

Let’s stick with the example of your exploration in photography… 

If the results of your micro experiment taking three pictures a day tell you to further explore photography, your next experiment might be purchasing an introductory level camera, putting your Self out there to take pictures, and seeing what happens. As you conduct the new experiment, evaluate your personal experience, feelings, and feedback from others (again, outside feedback is not the most important feedback but it does play a factor in where your future in photography may be) to see if your next micro experiment should stay in photography or if you should pivot to experiment in a different area.

As you continue with your micro experiments, some friends, family, or “experts” might encourage you to pour all of your energy into your efforts in the status quo and avoid directing energy towards “distractions”. While I agree wasting time and energy typically isn’t a great allocation of your resources, your micro experiments are not distractions and since your they are micro, they shouldn’t take up too much time and energy away from your current responsibilities–you shouldn’t have to worry about losing ground on the path you are already on because you’re sending all of your energy elsewhere. 

The purpose of micro experiments is to learn more about your Self, discover if there are things out there that you’d be better at, and even meet new people. There’s no guarantee that your micro experiments will take you away from your status quo; they could confirm that the path you are currently on is the right one for you, but you’ll never know for sure if you don’t experiment.

Your micro experiments will certainly help you avoid future regret that you didn’t give an interest or passion of yours a chance–you’ll wonder a lot less in your future years if you have a chance to experience different version of your Self.

Eliminating Stress Around Experimenting

Experimenting with new versions of your Self requires you to be vulnerable, especially if you end up sharing the product or results of your experiments with others. And in addition to vulnerability, the unknown of experimentation can also evoke anxiety, fear, and discomfort–overcoming these emotions may require you to work on your inner Self, which can bring additional challenges to the table.

One stress you can eliminate in advance is the stress of your personal finances. The uncertainty of money often prevents people from experimenting and pursuing alternative versions of their Self, but if you can establish a sound financial foundation, money can be one less worry to overcome. 

Having an emergency fund, additional savings, an understanding of your expenses and income needs, the proper insurances in place owned personally not just employer plans, a breakdown of financial needs for your micro experiments, and an understanding of potential impact of your micro experiments on your financial plan can all help alleviate any financial stress involved in your micro experiments.

You can even build your micro experiments into your financial plan, assuming you are working with a financial advisor willing to think outside the box.

You owe it to your Self, your family, and to the world to explore your interests and passions to become the best version of your Self you can be–there might be a version of YOU waiting for you to evolve into that brings even more greatness to the world. If you never deviate from the status quo you may never find that passion that brings you to your authentic life or you may never realize where you find your Self today is exactly where you are supposed to be.

Thumbnail credit: Trnava University on Unsplash

Disclaimer: Nothing on this blog should be considered advice, or recommendations. If you have questions pertaining your individual situation you should consult your financial advisor. For all of the disclaimers, please see my disclaimers page.

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