The Value of Experimenting on Yourself

I don’t know why I didn’t do this a long time ago.

I’m only in the middle of my second day of not having any caffeine, and already I can tell that this was a good idea. Other than a mild headache – which started a couple of hours ago and is getting worse – I feel better than I have in years. My mind might not have shut the fuck up, but it’s speaking at a reasonable volume, and about things I have an interest in. That’s not been my experience for a very long time.

You can get used to anything. And just like how a fish doesn’t know it’s in water, I don’t think I quite appreciated how normal stress and anxiety have become for me, how much I have been relying on cortisol and adrenaline to get anything done. But that was normal, so I just kept going. And now I’m not caffeinated, I sort of feel like I’ve been away for a long time and come home. Like I’m waking up from a very deep sleep.

Of course, this could all be a fluke, and that’s what time will tell, but it is slowly dawning on me just how much of what I’ve thought, said, and done for over a decade might have been different had I not had so much coffee in me the whole time.

But I want to make something crystal clear – I am not telling you this as some kind of preach against caffeine. I don’t think that you or everybody you know should suddenly stop consuming it just because for a day and a half I have felt more relaxed without it. Jesus. I have more respect for you than that.

No, it’s not about caffeine at all. It’s about having the courage to experiment. Because you can Google all day long about whether this is good for you or that is bad for you, or if you should always do such-and-such in a particular way… and never actually find out. Or you can do a little (reversible) experiment and find out first-hand. And if life was better before you changed whatever you changed, then it’s a no-brainer – go back to how things were.

The inside-out is superior to the outside-in. It is impossible to know what something will be like until you try it

For example, I gave up alcohol for Lent last year. I wanted to see what it would be like. And honestly, the change was minimal. I slept unusually well for the first two or three nights, and after that I really didn’t notice much of a change in my life. And so when that experiment was over, I went back to drinking. Why not? I like drinking.

The point is that I wondered if there was something better on the other side, and I found my answer.

What’s something you’ve been wondering about? I say go for it. Remember, you can always reverse course if things go really tits up.

What you must ask yourself is this: Is my experience of life right now SO INCREDIBLE that it’s not worth a little experimentation to see if it could be better?

You have far more to gain than you have to lose.

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