I remember once when I was young, a few of my cousins and I were allowed to take a canoe offshore to try to flip it. We did everything you are not supposed to do in a canoe, and it was a treat!
We rocked it, we stood up in it, we stood on the bow, the stern, and then we tried standing on the side. I learned that if you only weigh 50 pounds, a canoe is a hard thing to flip.
Later on, when I was a young teen, we would play round while skiing. My favorite trick was to lay back on the ground, knees bent, feet still skiing, and stand back up again.
Now having been sloshed into cold water and also having had a few spectacular crashes while skiing I no longer go looking for trouble on the slopes or in the lake. But earlier in my life, this was fun stuff.
In a way, I have become battle hardened. My worry and past experiences are preventing me from doing the things that I once found exciting.
Becoming battle hardened happens to us in every part of our lives. We try new stuff, we learn, we try to avoid the painful things in the future. This behavior is natural for sure, but it is a real skill to keep it in its place and not let this caution get us stuck.
When someone less senior, less experienced, or with less longevity offers an idea that has been tried and has failed a handful of times it is hard not to shoot back, “been there, done that.”
It is hard to have the hard work you did a year ago or five years ago criticized or dismissed.
It is hard to not see every new idea as a shiny reproduction of every thought you have ever had.
It is even harder to be gracious. Or be generous. And the hardest of all is to be curious and to think of why this idea just might work this time.