Life Experiments: The small changes that have a big impact

Life Experiments: The small changes that have a big impact

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A restaurant owner once faced a difficult problem. His place was packed out, night after night, with diners who absolutely loved the food and ambience. The problem was the restaurant provided such an enjoyable vibe that customers were in no rush to finish their meals. People liked sitting at their tables, relaxing and taking their time, and that meant there were always huge queues of people on the waiting list every single night. The owner had created an environment where people wanted to eat, but many potential customers got bored of waiting and so went elsewhere. He needed to make more of a profit to pay his staff, keep the restaurant successful, etc. Hmmm, bit of a prob for Mr. Restaurant Owner.

Tony Wrighton Life Experiments

So he went to a team of psychologists from a local university and asked them to find a way to make people finish their meals a little quicker, without in any way impacting on their enjoyment or experience.

They spent a month watching and observing customers and came up with two suggestions.

  • When the restaurant started getting full, make the lights just a tiny bit brighter.
  • Changing the classical music in the restaurant to different classical music with a slightly quicker tempo.

The restaurant owner was a little worried that his loyal customers might not anything different at all, but he decided to make the changes anyway. So what happened?

These two subtle changes resulted in customers eating a little more quickly, and the restaurant owner's profits to rise. Most importantly, customers reported absolutely no decrease in enjoyment when surveyed afterwards.

Excellent author Gio Valiante tells this story, and I highly recommend his book on flow. (It's a book primarily on golf, but is relevant to all sorts of areas.)

His point is that small environmental changes can have a big impact on us. If something as small as an almost imperceptible change in a lighting level, or slightly different music, can have a significant impact on diners behaviour, what positive environmental changes can we make this week? It's time for this week's experiment.

Tony Wrighton Life Experiments

Make two life experiments this week and see how you can perform better, have more focus, be creative, relax more, or just improve something in some way. How can you change your environment? You can create the two experiments yourself.

You'll find a few suggestions below - be as creative as you like though.

  • Changing the radio station/music you listen to
  • Making the temperature in your house cooler/warmer
  • Changing the scenery
  • Making the lights brighter, or dimmer
  • Hanging around with that particular friend or colleague who inspires you and makes you feel great
  • (Or getting away from that particular acquaintance who drags you down!)
  • Eating something different
  • Drinking more water
  • And loads more...

Subtle changes in the world around us can have significant impact on the way you think and feel. What two small changes are you making? Let me know below.

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