Drawing upon your own life experiments

Story highlights

  • Don't think of long-term commitments as a means to an end, but the goal itself
  • The theory of "deliberate practice" is linked to success in medicine, sports, spelling bees, chess and playing the piano

This essay is part of a column called The Wisdom Project by David Allan, editorial director of CNN Health and Wellness. The series is on applying to one's life the wisdom and philosophy found everywhere, from ancient texts to pop culture. You can follow David at @davidgallan. Don't miss another Wisdom Project column by subscribing here.

(CNN)Life unfolds by the scientific method, in a series of theories we test and outcomes from which we learn. We're all just trying to figure out the best way to live and we do so by trial and error every day.

We are kicking bad habits, searching for happiness, improving relationships, saving the planet, advancing our careers, getting in shape and so on. Or at least trying to, by converting our thoughts into action and then trying over and over again until we discover what works (and doesn't). "All life is an experiment," wrote the science-minded transcendentalist Ralph Waldo Emerson. "The m