When you’re experimenting, failure is acceptable. Curiosity is okay. You can do things that seem a bit wrong, but then, you’re not committed. You’re putting your toe in the water; that’s all. No one gets to throw shade at you for doing things weird.
Experimentation is something we associate with youth or those going through a ‘mid-life crisis’; people who are not clear about what they want or who they are. It’s becoming popular, this experimentation, and it is not limited to any age group, brand, or industry.
Microsoft extends its innovation space, paradoxically called “The Garage,” to promote “hack culture,” which is really another way of saying that it’s okay if things don’t make it out the front door. Mainstream women’s magazines like Vogue and Marie Claire highlight the benefits of micro-dosing psychedelics. A recent New York Times bestseller by experimenter extraordinaire Tim Ferriss is basically a collection of other people’s experiments.
When did experimentation become acceptable?
Probably around the time that the concept of integrity started to shift in mainstream consciousness. ‘Steadfast’ and ‘forever’ became less appealing. ‘Keeping promises’ a bold place to go. Playing in the grey started to feel so much better. Derrick Jones, a columnist for The Boston Globe, wrote an article about the crisis of integrity in America in as far back as 2010. He attributes it to the need to get ahead, and if you think about experimentation, the concept shares the same intent, but without the moral judgment. Experimentation allows you to figure out how to get to what’s good for you.
Why is the appeal of experimentation important to acknowledge?
There is a whole demographic of people who have adopted this philosophy as a lifestyle. They try different programs, products, explore different ways of living. Genderless fashion, any product with the word “performance” slapped on it, travel experiences, the industry of popular psychology. This is why pop-ups, limited-editions, and wacky food flavors work so well. It is all a sign that people are getting comfortable with trying something new, and its tastes better without the long-term commitment. If you don’t like it, you can change your mind.