“Unlearning requires the integrity to admit that you were wrong yesterday. Learning is how you evolve. Unlearning is how you keep up as the world evolves.”

Adam Grant

There was a time in my life when I believed more was… well, more. I grew my hair out, and not just any hair, but the kind that would make a lion’s mane look tame. Thick, rebellious, and with a personality of its own, my hair seemed to have its own zip code. To tame this wild beast, I took to flat ironing it. The result? A look so polished, so primped, it could only be described as… helmet-like. I was basically a walking, talking Darth Vader helmet, minus the armor.

But, as with any self-respecting knight, I felt something was missing. Enter the soul patch, or as the more colorful folks called it, the “flavor-savor.” (Don’t ask; some mysteries of the universe are better left unsolved.) This tiny tuft of facial hair was my ticket to cool town. But why stop there? To complete my transformation from mild-mannered guy to rock god, I added highlights. Blondish on Tuesdays, reddish on Fridays, and oh, did I mention? I was in a band. It wasn’t just a look—it was a lifestyle.

It. Was. A. Lot.

Now, looking back, I can’t help but chuckle. The quote, “Unlearning requires the integrity to admit that you were wrong yesterday. Learning is how you evolve. Unlearning is how you keep up as the world evolves,” rings so true. Learning was me trying on different versions of myself, from helmet hair to rockstar highlights. Unlearning was realizing that maybe, just maybe, I didn’t need all the bells and whistles to be cool.

The journey of self-discovery is filled with hair experiments gone wrong, questionable facial hair choices, and band gigs you’d rather forget. But it’s also filled with moments of clarity, of realizing that sometimes less is more, and that it’s okay to change your tune (or hairstyle) as the world evolves.

So, to all the helmet-haired warriors and flavor-savor aficionados out there, remember: it’s not about the mistakes we make, but the lessons we learn and unlearn along the way. Here’s to the adventures of the past, and to the wisdom of knowing when to leave some trends firmly in the rearview mirror.

Stephen Boudreau serves as VP of Product + Content Marketing at Virtuous Software. For over two decades, he has helped nonprofits leverage the digital space to grow their impact. To that end, Stephen co-founded RaiseDonors, a platform that provides nonprofits with technology and experiences that remove barriers to successful online fundraising. He is an avid (but aging) soccer player, audiobook enthusiast, and the heavily-disputed UNO champion of his household.

Copyright ©2024 Stephen Boudreau.