Last night, our family watched the first episode of the Tim Ferriss Experiment on YouTube. I rarely watch TV, particularly reality TV, as I usually find it supremely repetitive. Do I really need to know “what’s coming up next” when the show is only 20 minutes long? But, I was curious about this show as Tim was telling me all about it on my Twitter Feed (yeah, we’re good buddies, Tim and I). It turns out it was really fun to watch – and with very little repetitiveness, which I appreciated.
One thing I like about Tim (and really, I know next to nothing about the guy) is that he is constantly smiling. He seems like a friendly guy. I liked him in the show and the other characters were really interesting.
In this episode, Tim is trying to learn to play the drums in one week’s time culminating with him playing “Hot Blooded” live at a Foreigner concert on the last day. I love this idea. I’m hooked already. Not only do we get to meet some neat famous people in the show (the smiling Tim, the entire crew of Foreigner who seem really fun, and my favorite: Stewart Copeland, the drummer of The Police), you also get to learn a bit about all these new skills yourself. What’s not to love?
When I see stuff like this, I’m inspired. That’s really what this show is about. You can just sit there and idly watch or you can bring some of that energy into your every day life. Like “The Biggest Loser” (one of the few other reality shows I’ve seen), you can watch or you can participate. I hope you always choose to participate.
What did I do? Well, not much, but I decided to write down some five year goals. Yeah, I know – a ridiculously cheesy and cliché exercise, but I haven’t done this in years and had no clue how it would turn out. I sat next to my son, who was doing his homework, and wrote down whatever came to mind with a purple pen on a lovely piece of pink paper, trying not to think too much about my answers in advance. I quickly scribbled together this list:
In five years I’d like to…
- be super healthy and fit (this is foremost in my mind right now because I have been sick on and off for nearly a month)
- have a very close relationship with my then 13 year old son
- continue to have a close and happy marriage
- have a great, lush garden that I can visit every morning with a coffee in hand
- spend more time seeing close and extended family
- enjoy more travels with family and friends – camping, multi-day hikes and bike rides
- have a kick-ass crossfit garage gym that is visited by friends in the neighborhood (for free, of course!) to form a fantastic fitness community
- many dinner parties with friends
- close relationships, laughter, love, ongoing fun and rewarding projects
- be more patient and calm through meditation, yoga, morning walks or runs, garden work, quiet hiking
- be working hard on at least one project that I’m interested in, such as writing a book, volunteering, or somehow helping my community and others
The nice thing about writing things down is that you can go back and analyze what you’ve written from an outside perspective. I’ve kept a journal almost my entire life and it has been extremely helpful during harder times. Your writing often has secret messages hiding inside of it and after a few days, you can go back and find those messages and give yourself valuable advice.
After putting together this list, I looked over it and realized a few things. I can accomplish all of these things right now! In fact, I have accomplished quite a few of them already, but I probably don’t feel like I have because they are not part of my daily routine. Maybe in five years everything on there will have become second nature to me. More likely, I’ll still be “working” on these exact same goals.
Another thought that pops into my mind, related to the Tim Ferriss Experiment, is that I prefer to be immersed in a few things that are important to me, instead of experimenting with many different things. I’d rather dive deeper and become an expert. That’s good to know.
So, how can we experiment in our own lives? I was wondering about this and I began to think through all the life experiments I’ve conducted so far – things that I’ve done that maybe others haven’t, things that stand out, or things I’m proud of.
Here’s my list:
- was a pretty good recreational gymnast in my day
- graduated college with a useful degree that immediately got me a job that I was good at and enjoyed (after a few minor hurdles, like flunking out of BioTechnology – but of course, this hurdle was necessary to get where I wanted to go)
- backpacking through Australia and New Zealand for 3 months with a friend with what turned out to be a pretty small backpack (one girl I met had an entire backpack just for her shoes!)
- moving to another country (from Canada to the United States)
- regularly biking to work in all kinds of weather
- going on a month long trip by myself (I could write a whole book about this experience)
- becoming a project manager and turning out to be really good at it
- retiring from work when passive income surpassed expenses
- becoming a mother, the greatest experiment of all
- starting a business or two
- becoming a real estate broker and being awarded Rookie of the Year in 2009
- becoming a dedicated crossfitter and being in the best shape of my life
When I look at this list, I realize that I’ve actually done a lot more than I thought. Most of the accomplishments I’m proud of are those where I’m doing something physically or mentally challenging, doing something completely new or scary, or being recognized by others for my achievements. I’m sure that’s pretty typical and we all have lists that look like this. But, until you write it down, you might not realize that you’ve already been conducting experiments your entire life. Seeing what this list looks like allows me to understand what kinds of things I should focus on in the future.
There’s always something to work on. As one of my favorite bloggers reminded me today, you find your balance over your years, not your days.
Here’s the episode by the way (I put it at the end, so you wouldn’t ignore me and run into Tim’s smiley arms):