I believe that each of us has the power within us to learn what it takes to accomplish our biggest goals. To stretch ourselves outside of our comfort zone, and really go for it. When I reflect on those around me who have experienced tremendous success, who have made their dream a reality, one trait that I often see exemplified in their life is that of an experimental mindset.
It’s a quality that I have strived to develop within myself as well. And I will tell you, it can be hard to do at first. It means looking at the world differently. Rather than thinking “Well, that’s just how it is,” you instead think “what can I do to make it better?”
There are incredible stories of people who took a risk, who set what may have seemed like an impossible goal, and used new, innovative ideas to solve the problems that came their way as they worked to achieve it. We can all think of people like this, whether we know them personally or have heard their story in the news. Instead of simply accepting the status quo, they pushed for better. They saw a world that they could impact. A world that they felt they could contribute to.
Any successful person you see didn’t get there by doing the same old thing. They innovated. They adapted. They changed. The good news is that you can learn to do the same. You can develop a mindset that will allow you to see a world of possibility rather than closed doors.
How to Develop an Experimental Mindset
So, how do you go about developing a mindset that welcomes change and is excited to try new ideas? A mindset that looks at problems as a chance to innovate and find new solutions. I have three strategies you can implement immediately.
1. Practice grayscale thinking. This means that the world isn’t just seen in black and white. It means opening your mind to the possibility that there could be more answers than just yes or no. Grayscale thinking allows you to find a new answer to a problem.
By allowing yourself the flexibility to think creatively, you are able to see past the obvious right or wrong answers that have been used in the past—and see a third, fourth, fifth option. Of course you don’t know yet if it will work. It’s a new idea. But you have given yourself the freedom not to see a difficulty as a “no”. Instead, obstacles become chances to experiment and try to find new solutions.
2. Overcome resistance to change by experimenting. For many of us, we are resistant to trying out something new because we are afraid it will be a failure. We have a tendency to stick with what is familiar even if it really isn’t the best option.
To overcome this mental hurdle, tell yourself (or your team!) that you are going to try the new idea out as an experiment for a limited amount of time. This takes away the fear of something unfamiliar. It will also give you the data you need to make a more informed decision after the experiment is over.
3. Recognize that you always have more to learn. Someone who exemplifies this trait is continually seeking out mentors or looking to others who have achieved success to see how they can use their experience to grow and improve. To have an experimental mindset, you must be willing to see what others are doing better. Take their insight and use it to create your own solutions.
I hope you view the changes that come this year as opportunities to experiment. Give yourself the freedom to innovate and try out new solutions. What experiment will you try?