There are many good questions to ask intermittently so long as you process them truthfully with unbiased corroboration and data. One of them is to process how much of what you know is outdated? Being outdated does not mean being wrong. I used to have a paper atlas in my car growing up to figure out directions when traveling. Today I use an app in my car that does the same thing, talks to me and alerts me to all kinds of information on my route. I could still use the atlas today. It would not be wrong, but it would be outdated. Why would I not use a more current tool to make me more efficient and better at meeting my goals?
With technology, it is infinitely easy to spot anything outdated. Flip phones are a sign you are outdated. Seeing someone jogging with a clunky portable CD player/headphones is also a sign of being outdated. But how can you spot outdated thinking? Outdated conversations? Outdated skills? All of these are also tools we use to conduct business, enrich our lives, and grow to do better innovative things. The answer may be a lot simpler than you think. What if you simply asked: How much of what I do now is exactly how I did it a year ago? What you do should include the people you most interact with, the places and ways you interact with them, the volume (not so much quality) of new ideas that came to you and your team, the quality (not volume) of mistakes you have made, and the quality of your life. Theoretically, with maturation and growth, both assumed by-products of aging, comes wisdom and theoretically again, you should be becoming better at literally everything. Is this the case? If you are not, then it is highly possible that what you know, as useful as it was to you at a prior stage, is now outdated.
It takes a unique coach, athlete and business leader to start a new season or a fiscal year inherently assuming that some of what made last year successful is going to be outdated and adjustments will have to be made. The adage ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ is outdated itself. It worked when the shelf life of knowledge was long and access to new people/data was costly or just impossible. It can be emotionally challenging to let go of an atlas in the car and so I get how much more of a challenge it can be to let go of your skills, to let go of people that once were helpful but no longer are, and realize it not because anything was wrong with them, but that they are simply outdated. Yet, this is what slows or diminishes growth and progress. It is a difficult question whose answer can be both more difficult but incredibly rewarding. This week, ask yourself: How much of what I know/do is outdated? Corroborate your self assessment with others and make the changes.