Do a Life Experiment

"If nothing changes, then nothing changes."

"If you keep doing what you've always done, you'll keep getting what you always got.  And you'll keep feeling what you've always felt."

This weekend's OWL assignment comes from another tip from the Chris Guillebeau CD.  He tells a story about a guy who wasn't too happy with how complacent he was being with his life.  So one day, he decides to break out of his routine by visiting a nearby museum on his lunch break.  Then he started getting into photography.  When his company needed work done overseas, he took the opportunity and got to experience France for a few weeks.  The next time he had to go to France for work, he took his family.  Gradually he shifted his work until he was able to work for himself as a consultant.  Then, because they loved France so much, he moved there with his family.  This guy was able to change his entire life all because he decided to do something different one day and let that little "life experiment" open his eyes up to what else he could do outside of his usual routine.

This story really highlights how the decision to break out of our routine and make a conscious effort to do something that isn't normal behavior for us can initiate a snowball effect in our lives.  The man in the story (true story btw) basically wanted to make a life-change, but as you can imagine, based on his circumstances he couldn't just pick up and commit to anything drastic off the bat.  So he started with something small, then he allowed himself to follow a passion (photography).  These little experiments made him more comfortable with change so when there was an opportunity to work in Europe, he took it. Then getting familiar with living in a foreign country led him to consider the possibility of moving his family.  One thing led to another, but it all started with him deciding to do something out of the ordinary with his lunch break.

Even if you don't desire to dramatically change your life, it's still good to develop our sense of awareness so that we are not living our lives on auto-pilot mode.  Our brains love routine.  Your brain is perfectly happy seeing you live every year the same as last year.  And that's what we do even while we're wishing things could be different.  Einstein calls this the definition of insanity: doing the same things over and over and expecting different results.

You may feel like you're fooling yourself when you first try this experiment - you'll wonder how could something so insignificant contribute to any real change.  But even just breaking out of your routine even the tiniest bit will fire up parts of your brain that you've rarely used before.  Then all you have to do is keep that ball rolling and magic will start happening.

I can trace many of the significant events and opportunities in my life to one simple decision to do something different one day.

So your assignment is to pick something to do this week that breaks your routine and takes you out of your comfort zone a little bit and be open to where it leads you after that.