“In order to know what is or isn’t working, you should conduct tests. Don’t assume!”
I was at a Fundraising training today when suddenly this slide popped up and for some reason I found it to be extremely profound on how to live my life right now.
Conduct tests! Don’t know if it will work? Try it! You’re young, why not now? If you’re like me, you know what it feels like to be paralyzed with fear that you don’t even make a decision. Maybe great opportunities come up for you and you are so busy wondering if it’s “right” to take the opportunity that you miss it. Or you focus so much on making “no wrong decisions”, which is great and important, but you cannot always make the right decisions. As much as you try, you will make mistakes. We’re human and that’s how we’re wired. And if you didn’t make ANY mistakes in your life it’ll eventually catch up to you, as highlighted in How I Met Your Mother.
Lily: Okay, yes, it’s a mistake. I know it’s a mistake. But there are certain things in life where you know it’s a mistake but you don’t really know it’s a mistake because the only way to really know it’s a mistake is to make the mistake, and look back, and say, “Yep. That was a mistake.” So, really, the bigger mistake would be to not make the mistake, because then you go your whole life not really knowing if something is a mistake or not. And, damn it, I’ve made no mistakes! I’ve done all of this– my life, my relationship, my career– mistake-free. Does any of this make sense to you?
Failure can be a great indicator of what is successful. I don’t get why we’re so afraid of failure. Failure determines what works and what doesn’t work. In the fundraising training, they were explaining that a coworker suggested sending mail in a bigger, invitation style envelope instead of a standard, regular envelope. They didn’t know if that would work so they tried. It ended up that the bigger, invitation style envelope failed miserably. Which is great! Because now they knew that the standard business envelope works. Do the same thing with your life. Trial & Error your twenty somethings.
What really matters is that we make decisions. And that we don’t just let life happen to us. My dear friend Tae told me this when I expressed that I feel so uncertain and so afraid of making the wrong choices with love, career, life. She said “You know, you have to make the wrong decisions. Some of your decisions have to be wrong so you can learn from it. Making a decision is more important than making a wrong decision.”
So remember what the powerpoint slide said: “In order to know what is or isn’t working, you should conduct tests. Don’t assume!”
Basically this is saying what every mother has told us when we were presented with something new and sort of strange for dinner. “You won’t know until you try it!”