Since the dawn of time, one tool has stuck with the human race better than any other.
It was there when early man ran out of the cave to see a buffalo charging at him, and it’s just as necessary now, when the common man tries to figure out how the heck to work a front-facing camera.
The means are different, but the message is the same:
Learn or be obsolete.
Work or be passed.
Kill or be killed.
The Internet has only really been around about 20 years, so we don’t even know what it can do yet. But if you are resisting things like Snapchat and Blab, claiming you’re “too old” for that stuff, you are missing out.
Not just because Snapchat is fun, but because your brain loses an opportunity to grow.
Remember, everything now commonplace was once a fad.
Despite this, despite the fact that you have seen a revolution in your lifetime, you might still resist new things. Here few symptoms of “Too-stubborn-to-grow-itis” and how to catch them:
Symptom 1 — You resist even the smallest of changes
I’m not going to pretend change is easy. I moved recently, and the coffee’s in a different place. For the past few mornings, I went to the wrong cabinet, tripped over the cat on my way back, and spent a good 10 minutes trying to remember where I put things.
That’s a lot for 5:30 Todd to handle, so naturally I’d grumble about how my old house was fine, thank you very much and WHERE THE HECK IS THE SUGAR???
The Cure: Keep your brain in shape by learning every day.
Remember, that chunk of gray matter in your head is on your side, you just have to get it started.
This is true with any skill. Remember, starting is hard. Staying is easy. If you don’t have a habit of coming up with ideas, it might be tough to get started. But eventually it’ll be tough to stop.
Better still, the more you “stretch” your brain, the more you can connect the dots from one topic to another. Code can be compared to cooking, cooking to bowling, bowling to relationships and so on.
The more you learn, the more you learn.
Symptom #2 — You assume what you know now is enough
When I was in the newspaper business from 2009–2013, jobs were disappearing right and left. People didn’t understand why they couldn’t just keep on keeping on. Buildings were emptied, hours were cut, and everyone started to scramble.
Do you know which people kept their jobs?
The ones who learned to do everything.
It wasn’t the stubborn, 30-year-old writer who stayed on board, it was the 56-year-old photographer who also learned how to shoot video, cut audio, and figure out what the heck a “selfie” was. People who thought social media was a fad were letting the door hit them on the way out a few weeks later.
The Cure: Keep ahead of the curve at work.
Those of us with a steady salary coming in (myself included) tend to get complacent with what we’re doing. If it works now, it’ll work forever, right? If we have success, we may feel we’ve earned the right to coast.
If you are getting comfortable in your job, it’s time to look alive. Someone is probably developing a technology to replace you.
Don’t do tasks. Make magic.
Symptom #3: There is a lack of urgency
For better or for worse, we have created a society where people never have to change. Certainly there are a lot of perks with not having to look out your door and wonder what you’re going to kill and eat today, but it’s a double edged sword.
If we don’t have to change, why bother? Ever wondered why some kids live with their mom until 30+? This is the reason. There’s no urgency, no friction. They’re on easy street, so what’s the point in changing?
The same thing happens in business. The phrase “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is poison. Kodak invented the digital camera, but covered it up because things were going just fine. There were no big competitors forcing their hand.
Ever heard of Kodak? Of course you have.
But your kids won’t.
The Cure: Set your own goals.
Every time I’ve been dissatisfied with my own work, there are other who are quick to jump in and tell me I’m doing fine.
I appreciate the pats on the back, but still, deep down, I know I haven’t done my best. Success is relative, after all
Know this — other people will try and limit your potential, either because they doubt you or it makes them uncomfortable or because they can’t see past “good enough.” Even if they mean well, they don’t want what’s best for you. They want what’s good for you.
Only you know how good you can be.
Do not sacrifice pursuit for comfort.
Change is inevitable. You can’t beat it.
The only thing you can do is ride the wave.
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