As you may have noticed, one of the recurring themes in this newsletter has the experiments. As a general rule, I limit the number of “# tips that help you…” types of SEO-bait articles, often in favor of “What I learned from doing [project].” While list of tips are nice and can be quick reads, they tend to sacrifice quantity over quality. We can’t learn to do 6 things as well as we can understand the deeper lessons from someone’s immersive experience.
I’ve done experiments like this in the past, usually on a monthly basis: the Whole 30 Diet, the Different Route to the Office Each Day Experiment, the 30-Day Writing Challenge, and so on. I’ve also tried much larger experiments that proved to be too demanding to sustain. Perhaps the most notable was The 1994 Project, where I planned to record a cover version of a 1994 song per week for the entire year of 2014. This proved to require a ton of time. I made it 3 months in (12 songs), then got sick, got busy at work, then switched jobs, and never went back to the project. One of the things I learned from that experiment was how much I enjoyed re-interpreting music I didn’t write.
This is the Curse of Lofty Goals. Research tells us that setting ambitious goals for ourselves may help “raise the bar” for our efforts, but it will also result in failures, depleted energy and commitment, and a decrease in happiness. So, it’s a fine line to walk. Sometimes we need easy wins, but we also need to stretch our abilities to see what we’re capable of. That balance is essential to maintaining our mental health, but developing both our skill and our competitive drive, even with ourselves. It’s important to remember that the value of lofty goals is only partially related to the ability to achieve them.
Founder, The Idea Enthusiast. Speaker, Trainer, Facilitator, and writer about all things creative consulting. DC-based consultant to individuals who want to be more creative, teams who want to collaborate without fear, and anyone who wants to deliver the best pitches and presentations.