When my son was very young, I once lulled him to sleep by chanting, “I love to learn!” softly, over and over. It was my feeble attempt at using subliminal psychology: Feeding a suggestion to his mind, like they do in hypnosis. I didn’t know what I was doing so I doubt that it had an impact, but my intentions were noble. And, happily, I can report that, as an adult, he does in fact love to learn. So do I!
I know other people who truly don’t love to learn. In fact, they avoid learning and blindly embrace their existing patterns of behavior and thinking. Which leads to the old adage, “If you continue to do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten,” (or less.)
Growth requires a “disturbance in the Force,” e.g. a disruption of your patterns. New thinking requires a pause in old thinking to have a chance to take root.
Recently I was in China for another lecture tour (48 days of appearances on three separate trips last year alone.) I was conducting a series of daylong seminars for audiences of thousands of Chinese business people: workers, owners, managers, and sales people. One thing that’s abundantly clear when observing them: they love to learn!
They show up early, grab seats in the front rows, bring notepads and pens, and they listen intensely, even for up to six hours a day.
My speaking is being translated after each paragraph, so there’s a delay in the message and it’s rare to have a real back and forth discussion with attendees. But I do my best to involve them and to listen to their concerns and interests. When they ask questions, it’s obvious that they’re engaged and highly interested in learning how to communicate better, and how to lead and motivate themselves and others.
What are you like when attending a class or a seminar at Expo? Where do you sit? Do you ask questions, take notes, and follow the exercises in your handouts? Do you commit to learning all you can, or do you mostly rely on the handout materials and promise yourself to go over it thoroughly when you get home?
With 43 years of attending and speaking at conventions, I’ve found that most of these resolutions to review the material back home never get completed. The notes and manuals go on a shelf permanently and instead of self-help, they become “shelf-help” materials.
For other learning, do you occasionally tune in to the free TEDx video channel on YouTube and watch some of the 100,000+ short, fascinating videos? TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, and Design, and their topics bridge all three fields. Check it out: The videos cover every subject you could imagine… and many you wouldn’t.
These videos are all under 15 minutes and they cover everything from science to mechanics to relationships to philosophy. I delivered a TEDx speech a few years ago, called: “How to Believe in Yourself.” It’s an 8 1/2-minute talk that’s gone viral. Every day, over 1000 people worldwide have viewed my video for four consecutive years. It now has more than 1 1/2 million views! Check it out. Just go to TEDx on YouTube and search my name: Jim Cathcart.
Here’s the direct link: https://youtu.be/-ki9-oaPwHs
Do you also read all of the GEARS articles that are relevant to you? You don’t have to read the entire magazine every month, but you’ll benefit if you do. And be sure to read and reflect on those articles that are targeted to your role in the company.
I also recommend that you expand your learning to other areas, especially human relations, communication, and self-improvement. Every new skill you add — time management, strategic thinking, listening, problem solving, negotiation, etc. — will make you more capable as a manager, leader, technician, supervisor, sales person, and even as a parent or friend.
Schools were in charge of what we learned as young people, but we’re personally responsible for what we learn as adults. I suggest that you take charge of your adult education and develop the habit of reminding yourself each day, “I love to learn, I love to learn, I love to learn.”
Jim Cathcart is a longtime friend of ATRA and contributor to GEARS. He travels the world teaching people how to succeed. Read his articles and view his free videos on Cathcart. com, and on YouTube, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Contact Jim’s office for speaking engagements at email@example.com, Phone 1-805-777-3477.