When did you last try something new for the very sake of it and nothing more? The more I thought about it, the more I realized that with the occasional exception of traveling, I almost always have other motives when I think I'm trying something novel. I picked up a guitar in 2006 with the suspicion that I was just giving it a try, but quickly realized that paternal tradition, and more importantly, the perception from "hot chicks" was much more the driving factor in my feeble attempt to learn. Trying new things is as much a skill as it is a mindset, so take a small bite to start. You can try new things that take a minute, an hour, or maybe a week. Here's a great TED talk by Matt Cutts who prefered the 30 day timeframe, and for good reason, he's a veritable Jedi given a months time.
There also seems to be a requirement of failure that accompanies this adventure in novelty, and it's this accompaniment that consistently becomes the excuse for not trying in the first place. So how do we become comfortable with novelty in the assured face of failure? In my experiences, we don't! I'm still always uneasy with new experiences, but it's the experienced benefits that allow me to push past the initial discomfort. Like I said, it's a skill, and skills become refined with practice. Do yourself a favor and get uncomfortable from time to time (or as often as possible some might suggest). Here's my suggestions for easy ways to start:
- Travel (preferably where language is a barrier)
- Technology (there will always be a new gadget or web tool to explore)
- Socialize (step into an uncharted social circle)