“It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.” Harry S. Truman
“Education consists mainly of what we have unlearned.” Mark Twain
Leaders are Learners
One thing I know for certain, that probably launched me further in my career than any other thing, is that leaders are learners. They possess the discipline of self-improvement. You see, if you want things to be better: you want to be a better leader, you want better results, you want a better career, you want better movement up the up the ladder to bigger and better roles, you want to be the better candidate for the job, you want better relationships. The only way to get better things is to be better yourself.
There is never a point where our need to grow stops. No matter what level of success we reach we can never stop learning and feeding our minds with new thoughts and ideas. Many times, it doesn’t even need to be new thoughts. Reminding ourselves of what we already know can send us off refreshed and inspired.
Successful people will tell you the same thing: you need to make an investment in yourself, you need to read, you need to continuously be learning. We have all heard it. Probably none of us have ever heard anyone dispute it; leaders are learners. Yet, few will make the time to do it.
Success leaves clues. Here’s the evidence.
Warren Buffet spends most MOST of his day reading.
Mark Cuban starts learning the moment he wakes up in the morning. For him, that means spending the entire first half of his day reading. In his book How to Win at the Sport of Business, he attributes reading as key to his success
Mark Zuckerberg challenged himself to read more books and had this to say “Reading has given me more perspective on a number of topics — from science to religion, from poverty to prosperity, from health to energy to social justice, from political philosophy to foreign policy, and from history to futuristic fiction. This challenge has been intellectually fulfilling, and I come away with a greater sense of hope and optimism that our society can make greater progress in all of these areas.”
Growing up Elon Musk would read as many as 2 books per day. More than most read in a year after they leave school.
Oprah attributes her rise to the time she invested in herself reading. If you need a recommendation check out her book club.
Bill Gates is a reader and he says this, “Every book teaches me something new or helps me see things differently.”
The evidence is there. What are you waiting for? Are you saying today is Day 1 or maybe 1 day.
Self-improvement is a discipline
In order to achieve this, you will need to make a conscious effort to do so. We all have 168 hours every week – the discipline to use them productively is a learned behavior – it’s a daily choice. It won’t happen by accident and it is always too easy to say “I am too busy today. Maybe I’ll do it tomorrow.”
You need to schedule time into your day and get it done. Brian Tracy has this to say about learning in 21 Great Ways to Become a Sales Superstar. 1) Get up early and read. Highlight or underline what you read and make side notes. This is the important part . . .put what you read to practice. 2) Listen to audio pro-grams. How long is your commute to work? Even if it is only 15 minutes in one week you can listen to 2 1/2 hours of audio to help you become more successful. 3) When training is offered do not pass it up. If you want to become more successful, if you want to make more money than last year, if you want to take your career to the next level then you must make a commitment to becoming a life-long learner.
Other Learning Resources
If you don’t enjoy reading here are some other ideas.
Take free online courses.
Subscribe to podcasts or blogs and have the information sent right to your inbox
Do a Ted Talk challenge and challenge yourself to watch 1 per week.
And don’t forget your best growth resource is each other. Create a peer accountability group. Schedule weekly calls or monthly breakfast
If the rate of change outside of you exceeds the rate of change inside of you, the world is passing you by. I believe in you. I believe 2020 may be our most challenging year, but you can make it your best year yet!