Stay curious. Be alert for new things to learn–or new parts of known things. With every job, every profession you have to start somewhere. It’s called, ‘Entry level’.
Life, however, is not a continual entry level deal.
The saddest imaginable thing is a stagnant mind and bloated spirit because its owner stopped learning and quit teaching.
Learning – the wise use of intelligence – knows no age limits. Giving up on learning, saying, “I know more than I’ll ever need”– surrendering, in other words — is not an option if you’re looking for ways to consistently nail TREMENDOUS.
To curtail learning is to invite ignorance. Understand: ignorance is not stupidity or dullness. Ignorance is the lack of understanding, of knowing. It is innocent until you have a choice; then it’s lethal to your mind and spirit. Intentional ignorance is toxic to anyone paying attention to you.
Ever notice how ignorance picks up confidence and momentum as it goes along? Think of the last time you were drawn into the orbital gravity of a smooth- or fast-talking person. Probably a real strong personality, right? I’d guess it took awhile, and maybe some hard cash you didn’t have to ‘invest’ to find out he or she just sounded knowledgeable when they really were exhibiting the confidence of someone who’s become comfortable with their own ignorance.
What to do? Learn this: to know a person’s character, watch what they do and ignore what they say. Your walk talks and your talk walks. But your walk talks a lot more than your talk walks.
Also learn this: ask questions. Ask plenty of them. What to ask? That’s where learning comes in. The more you learn about any particular discipline, subject or philosophy the better questions you know to ask. Ralph Stockman wrote, “The larger the island of knowledge, the longer the shoreline of wonder.” Remember how amazing everything and everyone around was when you were young and full of wonder? Never lose that! If you need to, belly down in the grass and watch a caterpillar. Study a hill of ants. Carefully observe a bird’s nest.
Stockman means the more you know, the greater your store of wonder – no matter how old you think you are.
KEEP YOUR BRAIN THIRSTY. Repeatedly beating feet over familiar ground may be very simple but it teaches you just about the same thing it has the previous 19 trips. Old ways don’t open new doors. “Well, yeah, but see—” With respect, lose all your excuses for why you aren’t still learning, still wondering and you’ll begin to find your answers and results.
“Oh, I’m too—”
Go ahead. Say it. Only understand that it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. Keep saying it and soon you’ll believe it.
The #2 way to Absolutely Nail TREMENDOUS is to KEEP YOUR BRAIN THIRSTY. Keep learning. Consistently be learning more than is ever expected of you. As you do, opportunities will arise where what you know can and will place you in positions of leadership you may never have seen in any other way.
Being TREMENDOUS is an absolutely worthwhile goal, one I recommend. And the second way to git’ er done is to keep learning after every coworker, etc. has kicked back and is taking life easy. Never stop learning!
Age has nothing to do with how you feel or what you think, beyond what you allow.
Get that! Still breathing? Still thinking? Well, CONGRATULATIONS!
Your story isn’t over yet. Especially if the ants you’re laying there watching are fire ants.
© D. Dean Boone, May 2014.