As I've mentioned before, one of my favorite parts about thisjob is getting a chance to meet and talk with so many differentpeople. As a relatively quiet, ink-stained wretch covering alargely sales-oriented field (read, extroverted!), I'm often struckby how different people's personalities and lifestyles can be.

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A few months back, I was having dinner with the co-founders of abenefits technology company. Though both are much younger than Iam, their latest venture is only the most recent of severalsuccessful start-ups already on their resume.

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As they talked about their successes and failures, theirpenchant for risk and their drive to succeed, I found myselfwondering, “What is it that keeps them coming back?” I mean, I'dlike to think if I suddenly became independently wealthy, I'd takea few months off and then get back in the game. But realistically?I'd say it's just as likely I'd disappear into a dusty old bookshopand never be heard from again.

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As the night wore on, I finally decided to just come out and askthem. (I am a journalist, after all). They explained that while itwas great to travel, learn to surf, and relax on the beach, thewell of new ideas and creativity would soon bubble up and simplybecome too much. That's when they'd know it was time to startworking again.

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For many years in this industry, old ideas handed down from onhigh long ago were considered incontrovertible. But things arechanging. Some of the change is coming from the outside—from techcompanies and other start-ups. But there's also a shift in mindsetthat's occuring from within, unleashing curiosity and innovationthat has been bottled up for far too long.

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Rachel Miner, an employee benefit strategist at Employee BenefitAdvisors of the Carolinas (page 8), told me, “One of the biggestthings we're doing is not discounting anything until we know moreabout it.” What a refreshing philosophy in an industry that sooften reverts to the tried and true.

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I stumbled onto some wisdom shared with recent graduates byLeMoyne College President, Linda LeMura: “Try new things. Takeprudent risks. Learn from people willing to share from theirexperiences. The person who is curious and nimble will succeed overtime.”

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One of my favorite authors, George Saunders, puts it anotherway: “Don't be afraid to be confused. Try to remain permanentlyconfused. Anything is possible. Stay open, forever, so open ithurts, and then open up some more, until the day you die, worldwithout end. “

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Yes, we're all different, but no matter who you are, I'd saythat's pretty good advice.

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Paul Wilson

Paul Wilson is the editor-in-chief of BenefitsPRO Magazine and BenefitsPRO.com. He has covered the insurance industry for more than a decade, including stints at Retirement Advisor Magazine and ProducersWeb.