People don’t experiment enough in general.
Professionals definitely don’t experiment enough.
Maybe it’s because they think back to the boring science class experiments from high school. These experiments were boring because they were standardized, highly controlled (so you couldn’t set fire to the classroom) and lacked resources.
So science class experiments were limited to one small and uninspiring lesson.
In the real world, experiments are much different. They are fun because they are open, largely unregulated, and limited only by your imagination and resources. The world is your oyster and unlike in the classroom, your opportunities are unlimited.
It’s time to bring experiments back, to make them sexy again.
Career Lessons from Leo
No, not that Leo.
When Leonardo Da Vinci would seek to learn, rather than focusing on theoretical principles, he used a method that blended his observations with real world experimentation. This was not a strategy that he learned in high school, college or university. Da Vinci was never formally schooled.
He relied on recording his own observations, looked for patterns and tested those patterns in the real world. This created a feedback loop as his experiments led to new observations that would result in further experiments still.
The outcome was a set of ideas that were well before his time: a calculator, the parachute, an armored fighting vehicle, helicopters, concentrated solar power, a theory of plate tectonics and the double hull. All borne from his curiosity and experimentation.
Are You Experimenting in Your Career?
Do you know anyone that routinely, creatively and relentlessly experiments, even though most experiments cost nothing but a little time and effort?
No. Most people are too busy or too complacent.
Become your own alchemist. Think about different experiments you can try, different combinations of skills or talents you can put together to make yourself more valuable to your family, the people you work with, your community, company and network.
Here are some actionable ideas:
- Take a course in a completely different area. For example, if you’re a lawyer, take a data science course.
- Go to a conference in a completely different field. For example, if you’re a product manager, go to a conference where farmers discuss the agriculture market.
- Apply your skill set to a totally different problem. For example, if you’re a financial analyst that builds Excel models all day, build a model of a cryptocurrency like Bitcoin or Ethereum.
- Get together a diverse group of people from your organization (all with different backgrounds and skill sets) and run a brainstorming session around a particular topic. For example, think of 25 startup ideas in a specific market you choose.
- Explore jobs in a completely different field. For example, if you’re an accountant, are there any jobs in Web3 that match your skills?
Blending ideas together, mixing them around and seeing what results is a game changer that can fundamentally set your career on a different path.
So, what experiment will you run next?
Before you go: I have interviewed 500+ professionals, surveyed thousands more, and I am always probing for their best tips, tricks and hacks to get ahead. There are five that stand out above the rest and you can get them right now by joining my free email list. You won’t find these ideas anywhere else.