A summer experimenting with lifestyle design?

Lifestyle design

Baby boomers thumbed their noses at authority.  Gen X tidied up after them.  Gen Y experiments not with authority but with reality.

Gen Y is into lifestyle design.  Look at Tim Ferris.  He chose the title for his book ‘The Four Hour Work Week” by buying the domain for each possible title, paying for a Google Ad campaign, and counting how many people were sufficiently curious to click through to the domain.

Simple, straightforward, realistic, evidence-based.

Lifestyle, design, experiments

Don’t turn hamburgers into sausages

I like this approach. I like the article in The Burger Lab a few days ago on cooking hamburgers.  Don’t put salt on meat before your mince it or when you’ve minced it.  Put salt on just before you cook the burger.  Otherwise you get sausage.  All demonstrated with a documented experiment; not asserted by an expert

But can I turn sausages into hamburgers?

Now I like to the do the opposite. I take sausage recipes and make hamburger.

For example, I take the famous South African boerwors that is seasoned with heaps of coriander, and sprinklings of nutmeg, cloves and vinega,r and I make a patty.

The question is this.  If I marinade my mince in spices and vinegar, will I get a congealed patty?  Or is that what I want?

Hmm, I can see a summer of experimentation coming up.

If hard work doesn’t work, play harder!

Feeling the pressure

I taught a really really big class in New Zealand.  We had 800 to 900 students each year.

We took all comers.  We had people coming back into education after a long break.  We had A+ engineering students in their final year.  We had nervous 17 year olds in their first year at uni.  We always had 33 nationalities ~ though different ones every year.  And we failed 25% ~ as a matter of policy.

Students felt the pressure.  The course wasn’t hard. It wasn’t intended to be.  You can teach intelligent university students almost anything without making it hard.

But their marks yo-yo’d around.  A few more questions right or wrong in the quarterly quiz and their class rank could change by 100.

Dealing with disappointment

Some students worked like mad. They even worked hard when they were averaging 80+.  I explained that 80+ translated into A+ and 9 points on their GPA and there was no point in working harder.  But they felt a compulsion to work more even though there was no reward.

Others could see no reward for themselves.  They beavered away and got mediocre or even ‘failing’ grades.

They came to me in anger or distress.

“I work so hard”, they wailed.

My friendly but brief reply was “Don’t!  Be logical. If working hard doesn’t bring results, don’t. Go out and have a good time.  Be logical!”

Many did. Most did.  They could see no other way forward.

Playfulness often brings better results

They would visit me the next quarter with a big smile on their faces.  “It worked,” they’d beam.  “It worked!”  “I partied all term and my marks shot up!”

Of course, there could be many reasons why their marks shot up. No matter!  What they had learned was an invaluable life lesson.

  • We don’t control everything, particularly in a competitive system where our results depend as much on what we  do and on what other people do.
  • Rewards are not linearly dependent on effort.  Working harder does not necessarily bring a reward.
  • People don’t reward us because we want to be rewarded.  “The world does not owe us a living.”

Business does not reward you for working hard

So they learned the first lessons of business. And I hope they will be better managers for it.

  • Do the basics, do them professionally, do them at the right time, and STOP.
  • Do what the customers want, not what you want.
  • Go out and play. Other people will like you for it. You will like yourself for it. Business may even boom!

The simple lesson is that if hard work doesn’t work, try something else!

Smile.  Take a deep breath and just do something differently.  Mix it up!

And stop being such a control freak!

There!  Gave myself away.

Ah, well, if you must, then turn it into an AB experiment.

  • Record your results now.
  • Every day, write a short journal of how the day went.
    • Ask yourself what went wrong and how you could do better.  Then ask yourself why did you do so well.
    • Jot down the misunderstandings and confusions that you were able to explore to the benefit of you and the other person.
    • Ask yourself what questions you pursued with no guarantee of an answer.
    • Ask who you treated kindly, as if their lives were going to end at midnight.
  • After a month, ask how you life is going!  Will you carry this on for another month?

Or will you do an ABA experiment and go back to the way things were?

For the poets among us: this short poem gives the same message lyrically.

3 best known ways to improve a blog (that bored me silly)

This week was supposed to be a week of blog experimentation.  I picked out 3 best known ways to improve a blog, and set to with gusto.

This was my plan from improving my blog

Two posts a day (one at midnight to catch the eastern hemisphere and one at 17:00 to catch the western traffic)

More careful choice of keywords (at least check the keywords in Keyword Tool and make sure the words are in the title, tag and in two or three places in the text)

Better use of headlines (at least check down a list of good headline recipes and improve a little).

Do you think these are the most important ways to improve a blog?

I am sure if I persisted, I would get better results.   Do you think I would get better results with these three disciplines?

My results after 3 days

But I am bored.  The Secrets of . . . Doing X like a Y.   It just doesn’t grab me.  This feels like writing university essays.

I don’t even want to run experiments.   Experiments are close-ended.   There is no surprise.

I want adventure in what I do – even in a blog post written from a town in the countryside.

I want a set of headlines that talk about adventure.   Are there none because the audience doesn’t like adventure or because copy writer don’t think adventure?

How do you get the best return from your blog?

How do you approach blog writing?  What have you done consciously to improve your blog?  Did it work?

Any ideas about how I can make my blog into an adventure – even a little one.  An itsy bitsy tiny adventure that is surprising?

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