“You are either learning or dying” the saying goes. We meet some remarkable people in life. People in their 20’s and 30’s who are confident in who they are. People in their 40’s and 50’s who are alive with passion and commitment. People in their 60’s,70’s and 80’s who are fascinated, open and learning. What these people have in common is that they are evolving. Continuously becoming more conscious, more aware of how life works and at the same time becoming more capable of influencing it. Far more “normal” is to stop developing at some point. A big chunk of education for most us was about learning to be obedient. Many of us learn this lesson so well that if there is no one to tell us what to do, we simply do nothing. Apathy is disturbingly common. When I first started running workshops I was surprised at the way some sessions were resisted and how the feedback on those sessions was often negative. After a time I realised that very often the reason the feedback was negative was because people were out of their comfort zone - and they didn’t like it. The only way we expand our consciousness is by being outside our comfort zone. Learning is a process of opening up new neural pathways in the brain. Neural pathways are like pathways in a forest, the paths that are used frequently become clear and easy to navigate. Paths that are not used become overgrown. Learning anything is like going through the forest with a machete, opening up new pathways. By definition it pushes us out side our comfort zone. By definition it is uncomfortable. These days I start workshops by telling participants this analogy, and I ask them not to judge the workshop by the level of discomfort they feel. It could be argued that during the industrial era,that it was the role of individuals to be obedient. To work in factories obediently, to fight in trenches obediently or to work in the public sector obediently. Today this is emphatically not good enough. We need EVERY member of society who can to take responsibility. We need responsible politicians, we need responsible bankers, we need responsible teachers and doctors and nurses. We need responsible business people. We need responsible teenagers, community members and citizens. Being responsible does not just mean doing what we are told, it means knowing what is right and doing it. We can only know what is right by knowing ourselves, our values, our purpose and our intuition. Morals, ethics and values do not come from further obedience to a book or dogma, but from being in touch with our inner self. Most of us were not fortunate enough to come out of our formal education with deep self knowledge - so we need to learn it now. Once we are willing to go outside our comfort zone and make learning and expanding our consciousness a lifelong habit and pursuit, we immediately open up our potential to being exceptional. Do you choose to be exceptional? Would you like to be exceptional? Would you like your colleagues and your workplace to be exceptional. It can happen, it just requires a willingness to go beyond what you already know.