On Laughing at Yourself, Being Wrong, and Self Experimentation

Sometimes you can’t help but laugh at yourself. About a month ago I was heading to Chattanooga TN on an exploratory mission. I had an incredibly early flight. I had to be out the door around 4am which meant I was up around 3am getting ready. I’ve been thinking about a writing side project for a long time and that morning at 3:45 when I hopped in an Uber to logan airport my brain was alive with ideas.

Not wanting to waste the moment I pulled out my iphone and started frantically typing. I was intoxicated. Research I’d read on neuroscience and psychology was flawlessly flowing into a narrative.

I spent the 20 minute car ride in a state of flow. When we arrived at Logan I’d flushed out ideas that previously seemed impossible.

Naturally I’ve been dying to recreate this experience. In a moment of brilliance (aka insanity) I thought to myself that maybe the malleability of my brain at 4am in the morning was the reason for brilliance. So like any sane person I set my alarm for 4am the next morning.

I knew that 4am Tyler was going to be a dick so I devised a clever way to keep myself awake long enough to do more than hit the snooze button. I put the alarm clock in the next room and then proceeded to fall asleep.

I didn’t account for my deep desire to not be awake at 4am. The alarm went off, I got out of bed (cursing myself) proceeded to find the alarm and shut it off. I did spend a few minutes looking out at the sleepy street below and then promptly decided that this was fucking insane and I’d much rather be asleep.

Why am I telling you this? Because it illustrates a good point. Experimentation is not always pleasant. To paraphrase one of my friends “experiments don’t always work out, if they did your methodology would probably be off.”

So embrace your insane experiment. Give a few crazy things a shot and if they don’t pan out laugh a little. Experiments aren’t always supposed to succeed.