Pilots’ Life Changes Before Making Them

Before I moved from Seattle to Cedar Rapids, I booked a week’s stay with Airbnb’s Cedar Rapids so I could “visit the place”. I ran a similar test a few years ago when I was thinking about moving from Seattle to Portland, and while my visit to Portland didn’t convince me that I needed to make a permanent move, the week I spent in Cedar Rapids ended with me. for a year.

I’m a big fan of testing, repetition and / or rejection of ideas before they fully realize, so I am very grateful for the recent tweet author and entrepreneur David Kadavu about creating pilot projects for the proposed life changes . Like literal pilots. It’s like we’re writing a TV show.

If you were going to create a TV show called Nicole Lives in Cedar Rapids, you would start by writing and producing a pilot – or, in my case, spending a week on Airbnb’s Cedar Rapids. Then you rate how well the pilot performed. It was fun? Interesting? Does it make you keep watching? Can you get six seasons and a movie out of this idea?

I know that not everyone can drop everything and spend a week in a new city before deciding to move, especially now that we all have to stay at home, but you can still find ways to incorporate the pilot concept into other types of decision making. Regular readers of Lifehacker may recall, for example, that back in April I tried to change my daily routine to accommodate a new weightlifting habit . My original plan, which was to place the dumbbells next to my desk and do a few reps every time I complete the freelance assignment, didn’t work. The pilot concept collapsed almost instantly.

However, the pilots can be tweaked. We’ve all heard of pilots who were skillfully shot to include, for example, a casting change – and in my case, I was able to develop a sustainable resistance program by ditching the idea of ​​doing short sets throughout the day and switching to Better doing longer sets twice. in Week.

Sometimes piloting is built right into the system: we meet people before we get married, we buy day passes before we sign up for the season pass, we get a seven day free trial before our credit card is charged. In other cases, we need to figure out how to write, cast and film pilots ourselves, and then we have to decide whether to continue releasing episodes.

But this is the most remarkable thing about the pilot concept. If you are in control of the pilot and you feel like it’s right, you’ve learned something important. If it doesn’t feel right, then you have learned something even more important and may have saved yourself from making an unwise decision. If you’re considering changing a life that’s not easy to return, an experimental concept can save you choices you might regret. If you are thinking of small life changes, such as adopting a new habit, starting a pilot can help you test and tweak your idea until you have something to maintain throughout the season.

What life changes (big or small) are you considering right now and how can you pilot them before deciding whether to make them?


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