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Be willing to experiment

Improving Systems and Habits

Scott Miker is the author of several books that describe how to use systems and habits to improve.  This free blog provides articles that to help understand the principles related to building systems.  

Be willing to experiment

Scott Miker

Most people remain relatively the same throughout their lives.  They go through natural changes as they age, but we really don’t change as much as we do when we are young.

Part of the reason is that we find what works.  We start to see what works and what doesn’t.  Then we stick with what has worked for us.

But if we aren’t willing to go outside our comfort zone, we probably are not able to experience as much as if we were willing to stretch at times to try something new.

I recently read a book that emphasized the importance of this type of stretching.  The author emphasized that everything good in life has come from change, so we should embrace change instead of fearing it.  He even said we should be in a constant state of change. 

But many times we already know what we like and what we don’t.  We have a good sense of what fits for us.  While there may be a lot to gain from change, there is also a lot to lose.

Therefore, I disagree with many of the points in the book.  I don’t think change for the sake of change is always a great idea.  In fact, I think change should be prompted from a desire to improve or explore something to see if there is a way to improve. 

While this might not seem like a big difference, I have found it to be very helpful for me.  I know there are certain activities that I have no interest in.  There may be some benefit from exploring those but I know that my time would be much better spent in other ways. 

Therefore, I think we should adjust how we look at change.  Instead of avoiding all change or embracing all change, we start to look at change as an experiment.  We make changes in order to learn something and potentially improve from that insight. 

Doing this could help us from getting caught up in the loop of change that some people enter.  They change but this doesn’t improve their happiness, so they change again and again.  Each time they are sure that this next change is the one that will make them happy but each time they come back to the same happiness set point

The problem with change is that without sustained effort, we likely won’t experience the value of the change.  Eating healthy doesn’t have an immediate benefit to one’s health.  But done for long enough the health benefits will surface.  Changing too soon risks changing before the benefits ever emerge. 

So, instead of constantly changing or being so rigid we never change, we should be willing to experiment and change throughout life.  But it should be focused on ways to improve and get better.  This will help us remain content, which will help prevent us from constant change in order to find happiness, which might feel as though it is always around the corner in the next change.