Everyone has something to teach, as well as everything still to learn. 

In the gym this morning I buddied up with this young kid, and we “spotted” each other with some routines. He lifted a ton more than me, but hey. Full disclosure: I’m not 18 anymore.

As we got chatting, I was struck by some simple truths about things we lose along the way. 

1. Simplicity

He talked about the two clear goals he has for the next 12 months: saving up to learn to drive, and getting a personal training qualification. 

There’s his mobility and revenue sorted. 

I’m guessing in most of our lives there’ll be way more complexity than that. 

Complexity we made up, often by saying yes to too many things.

  • Getting married
  • Taking a stressful job 
  • Borrowing money
  • Starting a business and taking too much on 
  • Packing a calendar end-to-end with stuff to do

I accept there are many facets to a full and happy life.

But just because you CAN do something doesn’t mean you SHOULD.

Learning to say no is a powerful success trait.

2. Optimism

At 18, we usually haven’t had too many things go wrong yet, so it’s easy to believe all our plans will work out just fine. 

The lightness of being that I felt in my gym partner is common in those who are transitioning from a happy childhood into a world that’s bursting with possibilities.

But optimism is just a feeling created by our own thought in the moment, right? 

So why not just decide to feel optimistic all the time? 

There’s no point in doing anything if you don’t think it’s going to create a benefit for you and/or the wider world, so isn’t it better to at least start from a place of thinking you’re going to succeed? 

Working with coaches and therapists, I see many great careers scuppered because they don’t believe they CAN. 

Truth is, you can do anything you want to do, and getting started is the best motivator. 

Once you see things starting to happen, like that first client who pays you, the first client who gets a massive benefit from you, and the first month you pay all your bills from your work, you’ll KNOW it’s possible. 

Until then, just believe it is. 

3. Curiosity

This morning I got grilled by my young pal about what I did for a living. 

Questions were asked in a way that escapes most older people: from a place of genuine interest and willingness to learn new stuff.  

Not the cursory “so what do you do then?” you’ll get at one of those ghastly breakfast networking things. 

No, this teenager wanted to know:

  • What my skills are
  • Who I work with
  • How much I get paid
  • How did I learn to do that
  • Whether I could help him 

Taking a deep interest in other people, because you actually WANT to, is a key skill in the coaching and therapy profession, and for anyone who plans on leading a rich and fulfilled life. 

Feeling like you’ve stopped learning is an immediate precursor to stopping living at all. 

So here’s what I got from my encounter at the gym:

Everyone has something to teach, as well as everything still to learn. 

Who are you teaching, and who are you learning from today?