Courage Experimentation Growth Learning Life

Why life is an Unforgiving Laboratory

Valuable insights about life, experimentation, and learning. Without experimentation, life is boring.

“Life is an unforgiving laboratory.”

Interesting quote from the book “Be Exceptional” by Joe Navarro.

He mentions it tongue and cheek as he talks passionately about self-mastery. No further elaboration on why he thinks so, but I picked up on the term, and I love it.

My ‘curious and observational me’ did its job (again).

I often get asked where I find my inspiration for the stories I write twice a week.

My answer is always simple.

I keep my eyes and ears open most of the time. I see or hear something, and the neurons in my brain do the rest.

It’s also why I titled my new Substack posts:

Look. Learn. Love. Live.

That’s short for:

  • Look in the mirror (and around you);
  • Learn daily;
  • Love what you do;
  • Live your life.

Substack is a writer’s platform like Medium, and I’m currently exploring it. I like the interface, many of the writers I follow also publish there, and it’s new.

I like shiny new things.

And I like to experiment.

Substack is an experiment.

Or, as Joe Navarro would say, it’s a laboratory.

I’ll return to the laboratory and unforgiving parts and share my thoughts.

First, a little about Joe.

Joe built his career on non-verbal communication. That became his superpower. He leveraged it within academia and as a special agent within the FBI.

Joe left Cuba during the Cuban crisis. He didn’t speak English when he entered the United States.

The only thing he could do was observe the body language and behavior of other children at school until he started to grasp the English language.

When he graduated from school, he got a free library card and found out that there was not much research on body language then. So he started educating himself.

It became his laboratory.

For the rest of his life, Joe remained curious and intrigued by human behavior, non-verbal communication, and body language.

Ultimately, it became his superpower.

You won’t be surprised to learn that self-mastery, observation, and communication are the first three qualities of exceptional human beings.

For the record, action and psychological comfort are the other two.

Being curious is a superpower.

Treating the world and your life as one big laboratory makes life fun. 

Looking in the mirror, observing the world around you, and learning every day creates an energy that’s hard to contain.

Finding the borders of your comfort zone and crossing them is rewarding.

I know I’m privileged, as one of my readers will surely call out. Many people don’t have the opportunities I have.

And Joe was not privileged when he left Cuba. His curious mind made him stand out.

The world will not provide you with opportunities. You have to find those for yourself.

The world will not forgive you quickly when you make mistakes. When you screw up, you may face the consequences. 

It’s why many people stay within their comfort zone. Unwilling to face the consequences of their courageous choices.

If the world were just a laboratory without consequences, more people would leave their comfort zones.

It’s the unforgiving part that makes it hard.

I left the Netherlands to explore adventure in the Czech Republic. It cost me my relationship at that time. The first few months were tough.

There were moments I thought of going back. Not happy with what I was facing in my laboratory.

But I never did.

Ultimately the laboratory turned in my favor.

Your turn: Where’s your laboratory? 

Do more of what makes you happy!


PS#1. As promised. Last week’s insight on coaching had a higher-than-average opening rate. Last week’s insight on curiosity as a superpower received a lower-than-average opening rate. Interesting!

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Erikjan Lantink
Business & Leadership Coach

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