The Importance of Trying New Things

One of my favorite #CTCTLife events is approaching — our annual Engineers4Engineers (E4E) conference is happening in Waltham on Friday, September 18, 2015.

A continuing theme of the E4E conference is Making Engineers Better. Whether it be increasing the depth of a skill, expanding the breadth of one’s technical toolchest, or growing creatively, E4E is all about engineers becoming more seriously awesome.

One of the best lessons I’ve learned for growing personally and forming effective habits is the value of trying new things. Consider, for example, a small business owner who wants to get in the habit of engaging with her customers on a more consistent basis. Her friends and colleagues have suggested several ok-sounding solutions that she could very easily outright dismiss. But what if she attempted them all?

SolutionAttempt 1Attempt 2A3A4A5A6A7A8A9
Cold-call 200 contacts at the start of the monthX
Post a Facebook blog post about new offers and updates each weekX
Configure Constant Contact to automatically send birthday promotional emails
Deploy an army of advertisement-dropping dronesX

Although several attempts failed to produce value or become habit forming, at least one succeeded and became a long-term habit. If the goal you’re striving for is valuable to you, then it may be worth a few low probability attempts. The return on one successful long-term habit outweighs the cost of several failed attempts.

So don’t pontificate so much over whether or not an idea will work. Just try it.

P.S. Want to learn how to think more rationally? Check out the “Hacking the Brain” talk at E4E this year, where you’ll learn how to fix several bugs in our brains that impede our ability to become great engineers.

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