Familiarity feels like a warm comfy blanket to most, a place of comfort and understanding. You are comfortable with your “known world.” What lies beyond this space is unfamiliar, scary, potentially dangerous. Fear aligns with our innate survival instincts. Though in the day and age, how relevant is this form of fear? Especially in the realm of building up our toolbelt. I find it easier to stay focused on the areas that I already understand, languages, or technologies that I already “know.” Learning everything I can about a specific stack.

Anything worth doing takes effort to get started and even more to master. An initial learning curve bars entry for many. Those that see opportunity hurdle the initial curve and pay the entry fee. Almost like getting into that fancy nightclub for the first time by luck, why would you ever want to leave? You earned your place, you know the surroundings, you find comfort now as you grow your understanding and awareness of the space. Things are great; you begin to become an expert within your domain. You garner the respect of your team, and the company acknowledges your value as that seniority grows. What more could you want, right?

Time goes by, technology evolves, and priorities change. You find yourself in meetings now, hearing new terms and ideas that are unfamiliar. A small crack begins to form; at first, you think nothing of it. It continues to grow; almost overnight, it has become a rift. You no longer feel comfortable in those meetings. They are using words you have only heard of, your reality begins to crystalize around you as if a bubble were freezing in time. Just outside that frozen barrier, you see a new reality. One that feels familiarly unfamiliar. The distance continues to grow, a sense of isolation in one’s familiar place. Time only furthers the gap, the cost of re-entry growing. You look for options, change your surroundings, update your tools, make the leap? Looking back, you replay your history; you saw this change coming. Why didn’t you act then?

Comfort is a familiar place, one that shields you from the cold outside like a big fuzzy blanket. Wandering beyond that blanket into the unknown is hard. It’s natural for us as humans to fear the unknown. The effort expended to build up the known around us, the debt already paid. The trouble, though, as we sit within our blanket, the world continues to evolve. Generations march towards the future, and evolution accelerating exponentially in speed. More than ever, it has become vital for you, your company, even your family to adapt to the ever-changing world. Complacency and fear are the bonds that will root you in place. Break free of the fear and pursue the unknown. The sooner you know what you did not before, the better equipped you will be to make the decision. To invest the time, build the team, embrace the future.