“If you are not making a lot of mistakes and failing, you are going to be mediocre. Because if you are not making mistakes and failing, you are doing what you did yesterday.” (Richard Branson)

When do we stop asking questions to advance growth and learning? How often do we ask ourselves about what do we want to experience in life? How do we want to grow and develop ourselves? Or how do we want to contribute to the world? Regardless our age.

Is your life filled with joy and connection? Do you dedicate your time, energy and commitment to the things you value the most? Does “those things” value you back? Or do you sit behind the same desk for over a decade, repeating similar sequences and routines over and over again?

Going out there, exploring the world, trying new things might be an amazing opening and flourishing strategy to experience novelty, learning and evolving. If you are open to the right mind, spiritual and heart set for the experience. If not, you will be just transporting your body and exposing it to different environments to bring it back home, to your comfort zone as good and/or bad as always. Maybe the only new things you are bringing are some souvenirs and pictures. And that’s it. The point is it does not really matter how many different experiences you expose yourself to if you are not open and willing to learn, reboot, relearn who you are and what you know. Playing curiosity and adopting an inquiring attitude while challenging your dominant beliefs and assumptions, is critical for growth. Even if you sit behind the same desk for decades.

I taught psychology classes for college students at Lusófona University in Lisbon for over 13 years. At some point, I’ve had 12 different classes to teach the same content. Not even once I’ve repeated the teaching dynamic in each of those classes, even though the content was the same. Because as I teach, I learn. As I interact with the students, I learn and transform myself in the process. And hopefully, the same happens with each one of my students.

Knowledge and teaching in particular, are amazing doors for growth and development. If we are open to receive as we teach. The same dynamic happens with our daily lives and work commitments. Do we bring what we have and settle? Or do we absorb the organization talent & know how and bridge it with our own? Do our organizations foster this openness to learn and grow, or impose the “right way” of doing things? And how much are we willing to invest in individual and collective growth?

If we are doing the things we were doing 10 or 15 years ago, we are stagnant. Both ourselves and the systems where we are operating in. We did not evolve our skills, attitudes, mentalities and souls. And we are more likely to resist any type of challenge or need for change, while feeling nostalgic about “the old days”. 

Evolving means a personal commitment with the learning process and an openness to the people and world outside and around us. It means to be vulnerable. About our needs, skills and weaknesses. It means having the courage to try something new, expose ourselves and risk failure. 

A question I ask daily to my kids at home is “have you failed today yet?”. And they already know that if the answer is no, my response will be “than it means you did not try anything new yet!” And this creates the space for trying and failing. Success in most of our cultures is overrating. And we rarely open the space for what it takes to get there. Specially if we live in performance cultures.

Think about how many new things you’ve tried lately? Everything counts. From taking a different path or transportation in your way to work, to trying different foods or clothes, talking with or meeting new people or learning to play with a different software at work or at home. If your answer is yes, what have you learned? How can you transfer what you’ve learned to other domains of your life? And what difference will it make?

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