Many times when we are looking to improve in any aspect of our life, we search for someone who has already achieved the results that we are looking for, and we do our best to mimic their actions, expecting their results. The problem with this approach is that there are too many variables to consider in pretty much any aspect of life, and therefore too much is out of our control. We would be better off creating a plan that takes into account the success of others’ actions, and then tweaking our own actions to better fit our needs and expectations.
For instance, I just finished a 30 day biphasic sleep experiment. For 30 days I slept only 4.5 hours total each day, with a 3 hour core sleep each night and a 1.5 hour nap midday. This schedule was very different than any other biphasic sleep schedule that I had read about. The problem with the other schedules was that they just didn’t match my lifestyle and day-to-day schedule. I knew that in order to be successful with my experiment I would have to follow a schedule that worked for me. So I set about researching the amount of hours of sleep I could function on, then with the help of a neuroscientist friend created a schedule that we thought could work. I decided not to get too attached to this newly created schedule till we could observe whether or not it worked, and having gone 30 days with it, I can safely advise that the Universal Man sleep schedule (as I later named it) was a great success and can be used by anyone with a few days to adjust.
Had I followed other schedules, I can’t assume that I would have been as successful as I was with the Universal Man schedule. That’s not to say that I wouldn’t have been successful, but that there would have been schedule conflicts initially, which would only lend to less success. As I went through the experiment there were days when I needed to make minor changes, though. And thus the idea of tweaking your experiments as you go. I started summer school mid experiment, which meant that I would need to have higher levels of focus from 8 am to 3 pm. This led me to have a really sleepy mid day lul. I supplemented my sleep with a 15 minute nap at 1 pm (I just walked out of class, went to the library, and slept for 15 minutes). This allowed me to “recharge” and when I got back to class I was better focused and able to stick to the experiment. Had I not tweaked the experiment to allow for this nap, I’m quite sure I would have failed.
This is not to say that it’s not good to follow the trails of others who have found success, because it’s always better to follow someone who has done what you want to do than to try it alone. But we need to understand that we are all different, and because of that we all have different needs and requirements. By learning your own needs, you will be better equipt to tweak every aspect of your life for optimum results. And what is the use in all of this self-improvement if not to become the optimum human, right?