Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Value of 'New'

I had the pleasure of not only spending this past long-weekend at the cottage, but to have our eldest grandson (not quite three and a half) spend the weekend with us.  It was a pure joy watching him explore the cottage, the beach, the water, the creek, the paddle boat... No hesitation, just the constant refrain... 'Let me try that!'

Now that I'm back at the office and reflecting back on those moments, it occurs to me that many of us, as adults, have lost this willingness to try and experience new things.  We get so caught up the comfort of familiarity that we often go out of our way to avoid trying something new or different.  I see this with clients all of the time; clients who 'want' something different in their lives, as long as they don't have to 'do' anything different!  We're scared of looking silly as we learn or develop a new skill, we're concerned that others might 'see' or 'talk' about our lack of skill, we're afraid of the changes that something new might bring with it.  We have a host of reasons for not trying.

Not introducing something new into our lives is fine, as long as we are fully and completely satisfied with everything that we are, do and have in our lives.  I'm not convinced that anyone could fully and honestly say that this is true for them though.  Would there be nothing that you didn't harbour a secret interest in learning or experiencing?  Nothing that you hadn't wondered how it would feel to try it, to do it?  That curiosity is what we find most appealing about young children, but often the first thing that we restrict in ourselves, as we let our fear of the unknown or 'new' gain dominance.

Change seems to be a scary word today.  Too much seems to be changing around us, too fast.  For many, 'new' is synonymous with change and therefore 'new' is to be avoided.  However, let's reframe the thought of introducing newness into our lives.  Instead of 'new' equalling 'change', consider that...
  • New = Growth
  • New = Discovery
  • New = Learning
  • New = Opportunity
So...  let's work on creating an answer to the age-old question...  What's new with you?  The phrase 'nothing' is no longer an acceptable answer.  Your task is to now go and find/create/experience something new in your life.  It needn't be large, but it also needn't be small.  Think instead of something that you would like to experience or learn.  What would you like to try, have, be, do, taste, feel, see, learn...  Whatever word kick-starts a thought for you - Go With It! 

Nat King Cole started his amazingly successful singing career as a piano player.  In his mind... he played piano.  Period.  When playing in a bar, he was confronted by a patron who asked him to sing a song.  His response... I don't sing, I play piano.  However, when the owner of the bar told him to sing or he was fired, he sang.  He tried something new for him.  They heard something new for them, and his new career as a singer was launched. 

Now, we may not experience this level of success from our attempts at 'new', nor do we need to.  The point is though, had he let his comfort zone of being a 'piano player' overtake him, he would never have discovered a hidden talent and a hidden love.  What talents and skills are you keeping buried in your failure to explore something new?  What joys might you discover if you were to introduce yourself to new people, activities, places, things? 

Don't just think about this article.  Do something about it.  Take action.  Because... you know... the next time I see you I expect an answer to my question...

What's NEW with you?

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