“I am the wisest man alive, for I know one thing, and that is that I know nothing.” – Plato
“Oh I know how to do that!” I’m sure everyone has said this phrase at least once in their lives. When it comes to experiences, our brains are constantly on the lookout for some new threat. So, when we see something that we perceive is routine, we go into relaxed mode. We focus less on the experience and more on ease of completion. Because let’s be honest, our minds want the path of least resistance. Difficult things are usually dangerous. This mindset, however, can actually hold us back in our progression to being better than we were yesterday. (and that’s really everyone’s goal, right?)
If I want to grow as a person, then I must stay in a constant state of learning. This means looking to glean knowledge from the seemingly mundane. Let’s look at the air squat, for example. How much mental effort do you exert while doing air squats in the warm-up? Probably very little, because let’s face it, throughout your athletic career you have probably done countless air squats! But when you first began, you probably had to think about how to squat correctly each time you did a rep.
“…Drive my knees wide, send my hips back, keep my chest tall, brace like I’m about to get punched in the gut!”
What if you went into each workout, each warm-up, even each movement with the intentionality that you had as a beginner? Chances are, you would begin to notice progress in things you haven’t progressed on in a very long time. Now instead of a task completion mindset, you can step into a growth and progression mindset. This will also keep you from losing sight of your ultimate goal, because every training session serves as another small step on the way to accomplishing what you are training for.
Now let’s take this idea outside of the gym, because we want to be a better human then we were yesterday, not just a fitter one. Imagine if, instead of going into your Monday morning meeting like you always do, you go in with the attitude of truly understanding all topics discussed. You ask questions to help deepen your knowledge and appreciation of the business. You begin to analyze decisions with a deeper understanding. You begin to lead your peers better.
This idea can even be applied to your relationships. If you begin to think that you know everything about someone, you begin to walk a dangerous road of becoming annoyed or tired of that person. But, if you begin to look at each interaction as an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of what makes them uniquely who they are, you will be amazed at just how deeply fulfilling your relationships will become.
So my challenge for you is to remember what it is like to be a beginner. Seek a deeper connection to each aspect of your life. Whether it’s in the gym, at work or at home. You can never know everything.
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