Test Yourself

Whether at work or in your personal life, continue to push yourself.

“Once you stop testing yourself, you get slow.”

William H. Bonney (Emilio Estevez)

It’s important to define “slow” in modern terms. In Young Gun times (1877-1878), it literally meant more susceptible to getting killed. I’m not going to take it that far, because as we all know Using Hyperboles is the Worst. So what does slow mean today?

Personal Life – Slow

  • Lazy
  • Out of shape
  • Disintereseted
  • Uninvolved

Professional Life – Slow

  • Stagnant
  • Uninspired
  • Complacent
  • Bored

If you find yourself identifying with any of the above, try “testing yourself.”

Personal Life – Tests

  • Sign-up for a race (5K, marathon, obstacle, triathalon, etc.).
  • Volunteer. Try to find a location with recurring hours (one and done won’t cut it).
  • Join a book club. A book club holds you accountable. You get bonus points if the book club chooses books outside of what you normally read.
  • Coach. This one is easier if you have kids, as there will be more opportunities to coach at a recreational league level.

Professional Life – Tests

  • Sign-up for new professional development. In schools we have lots of opportunities to learn new things that are not necessarily mandated by the school district or state.
  • Find a way to boost staff morale. Bringing co-workers together for an in-house competition, celebrating each other, or planning a team outing are all ways to spice things up in a positive way at work.
  • Apply for a new job. Okay, this is a little extreme, but if you’re feeling any of those adjectives, maybe it’s time to move on.

I’ll be honest, I have no idea how exactly to test yourself in professions outside of education. Ninety percent of the jobs people tell me they have, I have no clue what they do. My knowledge of occupations is confined to jobs a 5-year old answers when asked what they want to be when they grow up (police officer, teacher, doctor, or astronaut).

The point is to mix things up if you’re in a rut. Testing yourself isn’t about tackling some daunting challenge. It’s about doing something different to break out of the monotonous cycle you’re stuck in.

The neat thing about venturing outside your comfort zone is that you may stumble onto activities or ideas that you never knew you were passionate about.

And if it turns out, you didn’t really enjoy your new venture, heed the words of wisdom from Cool Hand Luke (Paul Newman) when he provides his reason for trying to eat 50 eggs, “Yeah, well, it’d be something to do.”

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