People like to throw around the cliches that life is a masterpiece, or life is a book. And this masterpiece or book is solely yours to craft.
You are the artist; you are the author of your life.
But what if this idea sounds nice and all, but it’s flawed?
For me, thinking about my life as a masterpiece or a book puts all this pressure on me to make it a good one. To make it perfect. Because, after all, masterpieces are supposed to be the very best we can do, right?
And so, it’s a nice idea but I think there’s a better way to look at it…
What if, instead, we called it an experiment? Like the first draft of a book, if anything. What if we saw it as this thing that needn’t be perfect, or linear, or simple, or structured, or anything else. Just an experiment; just a “let’s see what happens if I…”
Treating life as an experiment means you’re allowing your curiosities to lead you. You have passions, interests, or questions in life and you go towards them with curiosity. This lets go of the fear of failure, and just allows you to see what happens for the simple reason that you want to just see what happens!
With every curiosity that we follow, we gain experience. Experimenting with life is about going out and doing things and seeing what sticks. You gain life experience this way, being able to say “I’ve done this thing and that thing” and even if it wasn’t perfect or what you expected, you can still say you’ve done it and then close the door on that “what if” afterwards.
Experimenting with life leaves room for imperfection. It doesn’t ask your every move to be monumental and life-changing. It doesn’t say that you must be this amazing person with a flawless life. It says that it’s okay to dip your toe into many waters to find which sea you truly belong in.
Just like curiosity, this idea ignites a sense of childlike wonder. When we were children, we didn’t worry so much about whether what we were interested in was going to be the “right thing” for us. If we wanted to do it, we just did it to see what it was like!
And of course, as adults we have responsibilities but does that mean we can’t ever take calculated risks? We can’t ever follow our interests? We can’t ever try and fail and shift and try again?
Because trying and trying again at different things is a brilliant way to gather information. That’s what experiments are all about. Trial and error; taking a theory, testing it, gaining information.
Life can be this way, too.
You have an idea or a curiosity or a dream, you try it out and gain information on whether that was good and right for you or not. And then, something amazing happens; you get answers! You live your life with no regrets or “what ifs” because you actually tested things out and got the answers to those life questions.
Learning who you are
And this information becomes a way to truly learn who you are and what you can do. How are you to know that you’re an amazing baseball player if you never follow your curiosity about playing baseball? How are you to know that you are an amazing business owner if you never give it a shot?
Self-actualisation is all about reaching your highest potential. Becoming the best version of yourself by exploring, testing, trying, working hard, and doing what you are called to do.
“Someone once told me the definition of hell; on your last day on earth, the person you could have become will meet the person you became.”
Don’t leave unanswered questions in your life. Don’t settle!
Exploration of self
The only way, really, to become your best self is to explore the idea of self. To not ever be fixed in who you think you are. To not just decide that “this is me, that’s it”.
Be flexible, be openminded, be adaptive.
Once upon a time, I’d never have thought that I’d be someone who would become self-employed. I wouldn’t have thought I’d ever have a partner who loves me. I’d never have thought I could speak in public, love eating all kinds of foods, parasail over the Atlantic, or travel to Africa. But I’ve done those things.
Who you are should never be fixed. Have a Growth Mindset about all areas of yourself and your life.
Seeing life as an experiment takes the pressure off. It kind of removes this idea that there is some perfect thing or decision or destination that we’re all rushing to in order to be happy. It just says, “Hey, let’s just see what it feels like to do X” or “I want to just see what happens if I dare to do X.”
It embraces the idea of taking life less seriously.
That not every choice we make is life or death, success or failure, happiness or sadness.
If you think you know your purpose, then great, follow it. But also don’t be so strict about what you think you are supposed to be doing. I want to write books but maybe I could step back a little and say, “my purpose is to tell stories” Now, this can be done in a multitude of ways. It’s less strict, less pressure, less perfect; and more free, open, and exciting!
Always a beginner and a student
And lastly, the idea of life being an experiment allows us to be a beginner. To be imperfect and unsure and vulnerable, but to know that it’s okay to be those things. That the comfort zone isn’t comfortable, really, it’s familiar. Outside our comfort zone might just be everything we’ve been searching for.
And if we are students of life, we are always learning. Always growing. Always challenging ourselves and ideas. Thinking with a Growth Mind over a Fixed one. Taking ideas and running with them in an experimental, investigative, intrigued and curious way.
Now that sounds nice to me.
So, what do you think? Do you prefer to think of life this way? As an experiment instead of a Masterpiece or a Book? I’m a creative type, and so naturally I like the idea of a work of art being the metaphor for my life. But as someone with many interests and who wants to live a very good life, I prefer to think of it as an experiment. Something I can test and try and work with in all ways to find what truly fits.
Hope you liked this, speak again soon x