Derek Sivers

This is only a test. See what happens.


Growing up in America in the 1970s, the TV or radio would sometimes turn into a long warning BEEEEEP. At the end, an announcer would say, “This is a test. This is only a test.”

Remember that phrase when pursuing your career.

It often feels like everything is so serious — like if you make one mistake, it will all end in disaster. But really everything you do is just a test: an experiment to “see what happens”.

My favorite times in life have often started with a “see what happens” spirit.

Let’s see what happens if I run my vocals through my guitar pedals.

See what happens if I invite that famous producer out to lunch.

See what happens if I call that radio station to ask their advice.

There is no failure. There can’t be, if your only mission was to “see what happens”.

This is a test. This is only a test. There is no downside. Try everything!