Adopting a life-long learner point of view
It was probably about 40 years ago, shortly after I completed my first master’s degree (an MS from USC in systems management) and about the time I began pursuit of my second (an MBA in finance from the University of Baltimore) when I decided that I was a “life-long learner.”
Since then, I have continued to pursue personal growth. And this has been through a variety of means. I started listening to audio programs, initially on tape, later on CD, and now on my iPod or iPhone around 30 years ago. I initially dealt with an organization called Nightingale-Conant, but today rely primarily on what’s available (and there’s a great deal) from audible.com.
How I practice my life-long learner approach
I read books, covering a wide range of topics. I suspect that most men my age (I’ll be 67 soon) have long given up reading at all, and if they do read it’s probably for entertainment, only. There’s nothing wrong with that; I just want to continue to expand my knowledge.
I listen to audio programs primarily when I exercise (on an elliptical or stationary bike; doesn’t work very well when I’m lifting weights), though will also listen while driving. However, now when I drive I listen primarily to Joel Osteen. You may be familiar with him.
I have Sirius installed in my car, something I never ever expected to want or bother with. But, he has a program that runs 24/7, and I will listen for hours as I make my 3-5 hour journeys to clients or events.
I like Joel because his messages are always inspiring. I frequently relate to much of what he says, and find that hearing his talks keep me focused on the right things.
I want to add that if you’re not a Christian, don’t worry: I don’t believe you’ll be offended by his message. I see him as a sort of Anthony Robbins speaker, who, when appropriate, blends in bible verse to reinforce a practical message.
Turn your car into an automobile university
When we drive, especially when we’re in the car a fairly long time, we have choices as to what we want to listen to. Many choose the radio, and listen to news, sports, or music, while others listen to music via CDs or Sirius. For many years I’ve spent most of my time listening to books and other messages that help me grow. I used to listen to “talk radio,” but gave that up about eight years ago. I found that it would sometimes cause me to get anxious or angry, moods I’d prefer to avoid.
The late motivational speaker Zig Ziglar spoke about turning the car into an “automobile university.” Well, I’ve been attending classes there for quite some time: and the tuition isn’t too bad, either!
Developing and executing a personal growth plan
What are you doing to grow? If you have people who report to you, what do you do to help them grow? Here, I’m thinking professionally. In his message Osteen recommends attending at least one seminar a year. Reading books and articles is another great way to learn more. And, of course, taking courses helps, too.
Obviously, because we offer conferences, webinars, training, a journal, and books, we have a stake in the “personal growth” industry. But, we see ourselves as being primarily an “information” resource. Just about everything we do centers around providing information content. Some of it, like this blog and our monthly newsletter, are free. But, because we are a “for-profit” organization, we also make other products and services available for a fee.
With about everything we make available, we provide a risk-free offer: if it doesn’t meet your expectations, we’ll return your money. I don’t know of any other conference organizer, trainer, verifier, or consultant that does this.
If you’re in the midst of your 2018 budget planning, you owe it to yourself and your staff to set funds aside for growth. I recommend becoming, if you’re not already one, a life-long learner. It can prove to be fun and rewarding.