When I first started riding my motorbike I became much more aware of my environment... and not in a pleasant way. After coming out of my metal cocoon (car), everything became a threat and I felt fully exposed to the world.
It's with good reason too; I live in beautiful Queensland where every week 1 rider dies and 15 are injured. And I don't need a maths degree to know that the statistics are against me.
Even still I love riding my bike, it got me out of my comfort zone and I have a new perspective, and a new sense of freedom and opportunity.
So here comes the clichéd analogy to programming.... Our comfort zone is our greatest death trap.
Our industry moves far too quickly learn everything, so it's an easy trap to become stagnant with familiar technology.
We've all been victim's of stagnancy at some point, but tragically some developers spiral down until they feel so far behind there's no point playing catch up.
Then they're stuck working with an obscure, unsupported technology - or they get promoted into management.
Others are trapped by their language of choice. I met a guy just recently who, with great passion, thought 'C' was the language for everything. Web apps, database apps... everything.
I felt for this guy, because I've been there before... and it's utter madness.
It takes effort and it's painful to learn new things. There's also a high risk that what you learn is completely redundant... but while it's important to pick your technology carefully - it's better to learn something than nothing at all.
My challenge is to never stop learning; it's not without risk or effort - but the rewards of freedom and perspective are invaluable.