I have always believed the philosophy of Ray Kroc, the founder of MacDonald’s, who said, “when you are green you’re growing but when you are ripe you’re starting to rot“. This applies to all things in nature including human beings.
I am not certain of his meaning, but to me it means you have to be a continuous learner. When you are using your mind to process new material, you continue healthy mental growth. On the other hand, when you don’t use your mind, really don’t use brain’s potential, it starts to atrophy and die.
It’s actually a pretty simple concept.
You know young children are great sponges for anything new. In fact, they will listen to, watch and experience the same material over and over again. It is not they did not “get it”, they love the mental stimulation. They are designed to be growing machines.
Many believe that when they receive instruction or input on a topic they are on the path to learning and growing. That’s a great philosophy. It is very simulating to learn something new. It’s addictive to many.
Think about increasing your curiosity to the level of the young. Pretend you are a little kid and increase your need for learning to their level. You had the skill once. Go back to it.
As you use your mind to absorb and understand the information, your mind grows. This is a very healthy situation. And, exactly what you want to have.
Decide to be a continuous learner.
There are a few other issues entirely and they are a little more troublesome. One, is learning something new and failing to put the new knowledge to use. It is a variation of an issue I have written about before. There are big problems with not taking action.
The real trouble begins when we trick ourselves into believing that we “know” something. We find this a great deal among the so called “experts”. This can be the craftsperson at the top of their trade or a senior manager in an organization. Many trade associations require a minimum number of educational hours annually to address this situation.
It could happen to you.
So, how do you know if you are falling into this trap?
A useful signal to yourself is to monitor your self-talk or verbalization to listen for something like, “I know that”. You can limit yourself tremendously if you begin believing that you know a topic, skill or tool.
Think about it. If someone begins explaining something to you and, believing that you know what is coming, you respond with “I know”. It is very unlikely that that person will continue the explanation. You have effectively cut off the communications and robbed yourself of some potentially valuable insight.
Or, you will say “I know” or “I have heard this all before” in your mind and stop listening.
I consider myself a student—always learning. Many look on me as a guru in business and management. I thank them for their view and compliments, but know I am simply on a personal growth path. I have and will continue to attend seminars and workshops, read books, and listen to coaches.
You need to adapt the same philosophy or…