I’m 43 years old and I am proud and happy to have a decent chunk of experience under my belt and to have acquired priceless knowledge from the scars of a career that has seen lots of ups and a few downs.
It’s clear to me that in this present time experience counts for a lot but what is equally important is exploration and curiosity and a willingness to keep learning. Now of course the fundamental issue with that is that learning means giving time and energy, pushing the comfort zone, embracing the fear of failure & often it also means confronting the murky stuff that each of us stores deep down in the depths.
So, who is RizI hear you ask! It’s Riz Ahmed. He is a graduate in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from Christ Church, Oxford, he is an MC (not the black tie kind although he’d no doubt be ace at that too), a writer and a high profile actor with major roles in films that span blockbusters (Nightcrawler, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, he’ll be in the next Star Wars movie) to British independents (The Road to Guantanamo & Four Lions) to a recent HBO series (The Night Of..).
Riz is clearly someone who’s interests and passions span several genres of arts and entertainment and who has a healthy and curious interest in socio-political issues.
Yeah great you may ask – that’s just what people like him do isn’t it? Well, yes, sometimes but for every multi-talented genre hopping personality there are dyed in the wool specialists who don’t leave their pigeonhole – Hugh Grant anyone?
What Riz is a shining example of is someone that does not consider himself ‘fully baked’. He’s not done exploring yet. He’s curious about what his bars might bring to his acting, he’s brave enough to write thought provoking, politically sensitive articles because he’s willing to take risks, he’s happy to make an independent film because of where that role may take him when he next steps up to play in a blockbuster.
In short he’s learning and he’s embracing the principle of action and he’s embracing the principle that life is full of ongoing lessons – if you’re willing to take them.
As often happens, after reading an article about Riz and seeing him on the Jonathan Ross show a few days later good old Seth Godin popped up with an interesting short blog post on the importance of learning and embracing ongoing lessons.
Imagine you’re a surgeon. A surgeon is expected to study continuously in order to remain valid in their role and keep pace with change and new medical knowledge.
Conversely, the marketers, accountants, managers, sales guys aren’t required to do anything but keep on keepin on. Worse still this lack of expectation reinforces the idea that when you’re in those roles you reach a point where you’re ‘fully baked’, where further training and learning aren’t necessary and worse still may even be distracting from ‘the work’ itself.
Widen the angle on this picture just a small amount and it's clear to see that the world of business around us is changing rapidly and that whilst knowledge and experience is valuable the reality is that its value increases enormously when it's harnessed with curiosity, optimism, enthusiasm, a sense of conviction, an ability to work innovatively & collaboratively, to break paradigms and be agile and open minded about how something is done.
What does this mean? Ask yourself:
1. What are you reading, watching, listening to that isn’t necessary to do what you’re doing today but expands your horizons?
2. What are you doing that allows you to tap into your deeper self, where your passions lie?
3. Who are you meeting & speaking to that sees the world differently to you?
4. How much time are you investing in doing something that makes you nervous, scared even?
5. What are your goals and how much do they stretch you?
Here’s my list:
1. The Art of Possibility by Ben & Rosamund Zander, learning how to build landing pages and experimenting with online marketing for my business
2. I’m learning Spanish and I’m getting fit enough so that I can compete in something next year
3. I attend a men’s group every two weeks, I recently completed the AltMBA, I’ve set up a mastermind group of entrepreneurs and I also put my first ever solely generated business idea through a pre Accelerator startup program FFWD over the summer
4. I am working towards a pilot in 2017 of my own hospitality based business and that is SCARY.
5. To grow my business 10 fold in 3 years and to retire at 55 with a pile of cash.
Be like Riz – you don’t have to be fully baked yet.