Your Life is a Project, and You Need to Experiment if You Want Different Results

I had a conversation with a friend recently, and he complained that his life is stagnant and he's not sure what to do about it. So I got into conversation a little bit further and noticed a pattern.

No, not his actions. Although his actions were the same on a daily basis, and I think that was a big factor too. But I honestly think that the biggest problem that was holding him back was how he looked at everything he did.

No enthusiasm. No energy. Hopeless. Helpless.

Hell, even talking to him drained me. Hearing him talk with such finality that his life was going to be stuck in an infinite, depressed loop drove me up a wall. These were all clear indicators of the black hole that is depression.

Again, depression is a serious issue that needs medical attention, which I cannot provide. Not only that, but I never recommend experimenting with drugs without medical supervision. But even those caveats are right in line with what I'm about to say.

You are the scientist of your own life. If you want a different result, you need to make the decision to experiment.

You are many other things as well, not just the scientist. The lead artist. The executive producer. The CEO. The Player One on the console. The financial planner. The guinea pig. All of these roles, and then some.

And Life is the project.  At my alma mater, we were required to do two "qualifying projects" to graduate. The Major Qualifying Project was the biggest one that attempted to sum up what we learned in all of our classes related to the project that benefits the school, a company, or a community.  So thanks to a friend that dubbed it this a long time ago from my alma mater, I personally call my life the Life Qualifying Project, or LQP for short.

Once you start looking at your life as a project that never really stops, it gets a little easier to see each phase of your life as a mini-project.

Moving to a new state? LQP phase. Learning to cook something remotely edible? LQP phase. Working at a new job and don't have a clue what you're doing yet? LQP phase. These kind of projects are easy to take a look at and see that there is a defined end to finishing and some easy steps to follow to complete it.

But then there's more abstract phases of the LQP, like getting over an ex, figuring out a career shift, or making new friends. Those are things that you can definitely find a lot of different approaches for, but you're less likely to have a step-by-step for getting over your ex than you do with cooking rice without burning it. And that can destroy your spirits pretty quickly.

But like most thesis projects, the person that gets the final answer on how it's done is you. Some days you'll try things make more logical sense for you to do and it will yield little, if any, results. Some day an idea will make absolutely no sense at all but you try it anyways and it works. Sometimes people will yell at you to do something because the solution to your problem is painfully obvious to them, and it may or may not work. Some days people will tell you to do something and they have absolutely no credibility whatsoever to tell you anything in that regard (example: a person that has never worked out telling you what to do to lose weight). Some days you'll find no solution works to your project and it's frustrating and how the hell did you get to this point in your life where the world is crumbling around you but here you are still breathing and alive so you might as well try one more thing but does it really matter because it's not going to work and you've already given up at this point before you even get started but wouldn't it be nice if someone just waved a magic wand and you wouldn't be in this painful situation anymore. Sometimes you'll even decide that some projects aren't worth finishing, and then the next LQP phase is being okay with the fact that you didn't finish it.

And you know what's the most beautiful thing of all? All these phases, all these problems during these phases, and all the feelings of rejoice and frustration all rolled into the entire accumulation of your LQP is going to be uniquely yours in the end. Sure, you may take ideas from other people and put them in your Life Qualifying Project, but the only person that can do it the way you do is you, and it's going to make a great story.

After all, when you're the one running the life experiments, you're going to get different results.