Just a quick insight for today’s post, which is all about the strategy or methodology behind how I change myself. This framework is behind all of the work I do with clients and staff to help them succeed at their goals better, faster and easier.
OK, maybe fun isn’t a word you would all use, unless you’re scientists, however science is behind the strategies that the most successful people use to improve their lives consistently over time. Today we are going to briefly cover scientific method, so you can start lining up your own personal success strategy with what is proven to work.
I’ll do a brief description of each stage, but then I’ll use an example to make it real – for this post, let’s say you want to get in better shape through eating and exercise, as a goal.
1) COLLECT FACTS
This is where most people fail to follow scientific method and why they then go on to get frustrated time and again. What do I mean by collect facts? I mean find yourself some real, unbiased, unemotional evidence. Most people talk absolute crap a lot of the time, so a lot of the ‘facts’ you hear people spout are actually not even close to reality. Ever watched the programme “Mythbusters”? Isn’t it amazing how many of them get busted.
You need to go out and collect information from good sources. To demonstrate using our health example of how to collect facts, ask yourself which out of each of these options is the best source of information:
– a personal trainer, or your friend who goes to the gym occasionally?
– a well-known health-based magazine and website, or the random email you got about some new secret 5 step weight loss diet from someone you’ve never heard of?
– the advice of someone who is healthy and active, or someone who is overweight and inactive?
Hopefully most of you will choose option one for each of these, and it may even seem obvious. However, isn’t it funny how in real life, when your friend says something like “You should only eat protein after 3pm, no carbs because you don’t burn them off”, it sounds legitimate, yet they are not a health expert and not in very good shape themselves?
So we listen to them because… ???
2) HYPOTHESIZE CAUSE AND SOLUTIONS
You need to figure out the problem you are trying to resolve, or the challenge you wish to conquer. The cause is all about why you are not where you want to be already. Again this is a step many people make errors in, which can have disastrous effects. It never ceases to amaze me when I’m coaching someone how obvious the cause of their issue seems to me and yet they cannot see it. It’s the same for me, which is why I have my own coach.
If you don’t get the cause right, then your solution can’t possibly be very effective. But hypothesizing means that you are basically making an educated guess with the facts you collected in the first place. If you knew the correct answer you wouldn’t need to hypothesize, but when you’re not sure you start by making reasonable guesses.
Using our example, look at the possible causes and possible solutions:
– if a personal trainer says people should exercises 4 times per week, and I only currently exercise once per month, then one of the causes of me being overweight is probably not being active enough. Solution: try working out more often
– if a nutritionist says people should cut all extra sugar out of their diet, and I’m eating four tonnes of sugar a day, then sugar is probably contributing to my lack of energy and excess weight. Solution: cut back on sugar
3) TEST AND EXPERIMENT
This one is what it sounds like: try out different ideas, methods and techniques until you find out what works. Don’t just accept the first thing you hear and do nothing else. This is what most people do for years, only to finally open their eyes to a better method later down the track and go “Damn, that’s way quicker/better/easier!”
For our example this might mean:
– try a certain work out regime for 2 months and take before and after photos to see it’s effect on you
– change your diet for a month and keep a diary on your energy levels, weight, body fat etc
– hire, rather than buy, an exercise bike to see if you have the willpower to stick to using it
I cover this in even more detail in my article The Brute Force Method Of Success.
4) CHOOSE A PROVEN SOLUTION
Once you’ve tried a range of things, from what seems like a good idea all the way through to “out of it” ideas, stick with what works best. Over time of course you need to revisit everything and try new things along the way to make sure you are doing what is most effective and enjoyable.
Using our example, everyone has different health needs. The diet and exercise plan I use might make someone else gain weight, or feel drowsy because they need more food, and so on. We all have different genes, metabolic rates and environmental factors that means you have to find your own best proven solution.
Well I hope you all use scientific method to improve your lives and maybe through this post you can catch yourself out when you base your actions on assumptions, lack of testing, bad advice, and other traps!
For a complete guide on how you can apply scientific method to every part of your life that you wish to improve, check out my book Driven!
Have a great week and I’ll catch you guys later