Learning is Never Wasted

I had just finished up a large project. By every measure it was a tremendous success. I was proud of the effort I had put into it and especially proud of the efforts of my fellow team members. 

 

A person a little higher in the organization than me told me the event was a huge success. I commented that I had learned a lot and they said “that’s too bad cause we’re never doing that again.” The implication was that whatever I had learned would go to waste. 

 

They were wrong about what I had learned going to waste. They were wrong because learning is never wasted. All learning, I repeat, all learning is beneficial.

 

I had an outstanding teacher in the 7th grade. His name was Cyril Paul. He was a life changing kind of teacher and I’ve never forgotten him or the lessons he taught me. I tried finding him several years ago to give him a proper thank you and to let him know how he changed my life. My search unfortunately did not succeed.

 

I remember complaining to him one day about some junk (in the infinite wisdom of a 12 year old I was certain it was junk) he was teaching in math class. I said “I’m going to be a baseball player, I’ll never use this.” 

 

He said I could be right, I might never need that particular knowledge. But he quickly added that learning how to solve problems would benefit me the rest of my life. He said that every class I was in was serving two purposes. Teaching me whatever the subject was and teaching me how to learn. Every single class was teaching me how to learn! I’m not sure when I discovered he was right about that, I think it came upon me slowly. But he was absolutely right.

 

I am still learning today. I hope you are too.

 

No one can take your education from you. Don’t think for a minute that something you’ve learned will be of no use to you in the future. You never know when some tidbit of knowledge from your past will come in handy. 

 

It’s never been easier to add to your base of knowledge than it is today. There are tons of good online classes and many of them are available at no cost to the learner. Remember, the most successful people learn something new almost every single day. 

 

Don’t use lack of time as an excuse for not learning. If educating yourself is a priority then time won’t be an issue. 


So, what are you learning today?


The Better Choice

Life is all about choices. The fact is, regardless of the circumstances you were born into better choices result in a better life. 

 

While success is a relative term the most successful people simply made better choices to get there. Your own level of success is clearly impacted by your starting point in life. If you’ve added on to whatever you started with then you’ve experienced at least some measure of success in your life. That is most likely due in part to the choices you’ve made in life. 

 

But here’s a choice many people don’t too often consider…it’s the choice to be better everyday. It’s the conscious choice that says today I will do something to be better than I was yesterday. 

 

What did you do today to better yourself? What are you planning to do tomorrow? What about yesterday? How about the day before that or the day before that? How many days has it been since you could specifically say what action you took, intentionally, to improve one area of your life? 

 

Even if it’s reading one page from a book it can help. Even a 5 minute walk is better than no walk. Skipping that coffee stop on the way to work a couple of days a week could have a significant impact on your overall financial well-being. 

 

Choices that look little can turn out to be huge. 

 

One choice, even a small choice, to take action each day to improve yourself could add up to a gigantically better life and ultimately huge success. 


So start making that choice this very day. It’s the choice I call the better choice because it’s all about being better, even just a little better, today than you were yesterday. When you make that choice today then tomorrow will be better because of it. 

Who is Responsible?

I’ve been trying to help people be more successful for a long time. In all that time I’ve seen people fall into two major categories; those who accept responsibility for their own personal development and those who affix the responsibility for their development to someone else.

 

That someone else may be a teacher, their employer, their boss or someone close to them. The “someone else is responsible for me” group all have one thing in common. When I say all I really mean ALL, as in every single one of them. What they have in common is that they are less successful than they could be, usually much less successful.

 

Successful people accept full responsibility for their own personal development. They look for, and find, ways to improve their skills and abilities on a continual basis. 

 

They do not expect their employer to pay them for learning. They don’t expect time to be provided to them during the work day to take a class or attend a workshop. They will certainly accept those benefits if offered but they throughly understand the difference between accept and expect. 

 

Successful people are willing to invest both their own time and money to close whatever skill gaps they have identified. They realize that their development is their responsibility and no one else’s. 

 

Less successful people wait. They wait to be offered, for free, the training they need to succeed. They wait for the training to happen on company time. They maintain the attitude that if they are going to improve themselves then somebody else is going to have to take the lead in their development. 

 

Even if all those conditions are met they still don’t do as well because the motivation to succeed just isn’t there. They are improving to keep a job, not advance their own abilities. 

 

If you want to be more successful then invest in yourself. An investment in yourself is the surest investment that you can make. Invest in yourself for yourself. Invest in yourself because you’re worth it. 

 

If you believe you have what it takes to be successful and that all you need is for someone to believe in you then YOU should be that someone. Never wait, not even for a second, for someone else to take the lead in your self-improvement. 


Keep telling yourself, if it’s to be it’s up to me. Then stop talking to yourself and start doing for yourself. 

Your Greatest Competition

I like competitive people. I like people who enjoy winning. I’d hire people who hate losing. The desire to compete creates the opportunity to succeed. 

 

While the desire to complete is key understanding who your competition is can be even more important. Successful competitors believe their competition is some other person or some other organization. The most successful competitors know that their greatest competitor is the person they see in the mirror each morning. 

 

Too many people try to be better than someone else. The most successful people worry less about other people and more about themselves. They focus on what they can control and the only thing they have complete control over is themselves. They work to be better tomorrow than they are today. They know that even if it’s only a little better that a lot of littles add up to something big. 

 

The most successful people invest in themselves to ensure consistent improvement. They read more than less successful people. They find training, not just to shore up their weak spots but to further strengthen their strengths. 

 

The most successful people have a coach or a mentor because they know a second sets of eyes, a second opinion and a second set of experiences can make a world of difference in competitive situations. 

 

To be more successful don’t worry about what someone else is doing. You have little to no control over them. Focus on yourself, focus on what you can control. Focus on making yourself a little more effective each day. 


Be better tomorrow than you were today because all those tomorrows create for you the opportunity to put distance between yourself and any competitors not named you.


Are You Talking to Yourself?

Even if you don’t realize it you’re likely talking to yourself, all the time. The experts call that self-talk. Self-talk is your inner voice, the one in your head that says stuff you wouldn’t necessarily say out loud. 

 

Most people don’t even realize this running conversation with themselves is happening all day long. But it is a powerful conversation. It can shape your day and even your life. It has as much impact on how you feel about yourself as anything someone else says about you. 

 

The challenge is that there are two kinds of self-talk. Positive self-talk and negative self-talk. Positive self-talk is saying stuff like “I can do this.” “I am prepared to succeed.” “I can make the best of any situation I find myself in.” 

 

Negative self-talk talk is saying things like, “I’ll never be able to do this.” “I am an idiot.” “I don’t have a clue what I’m doing.” 

 

You get the idea. 

 

Here’s the thing, and this is big… negative self-talk just happens. For most people the cause of negative self-talk is self-doubt. Everyone has self-doubt but if you’re not consciously aware of it the result is negative self-talk. 

 

Positive self-talk only happens as a result of conscious effort. While negative self-talk can pop into your head with no prompting you must intentionally choose positive self-talk. And that’s not easy.

 

To consistently talk to yourself in a positive way you will need to be aware that you’re always having a conversation with yourself. You must also practice to be good at positive self-talk. Stopping a couple of times a day to reflect on what you’ve been saying to yourself is a good start. 

 

If it is not something that is making you feel better about yourself or your situation then look for evidence to determine if it’s true. If you find no proof then it’s likely self-doubt creeping into that conversation in your head. 

 

Shut that negative self-talk down. There is nothing good about it. It doesn’t help in any way. 

 

You may not be able to simply self-talk your way into success but lots of people have self-talked their way to failure. Don’t be one of those!

Improvement Requires Change

I am frequently surprised by people who want something “better” in their life. I guess that’s not really the part that surprises me, after all, who wouldn’t want “better”. The part that surprises me is that they want something better but they are not willing to accept any amount of change in their life to get it.

 

Any improvement, even a little one, requires that something must change. 

 

Just because you may not enjoy change (you’re most certainly not alone there) does not mean there will be no changes in your life. Change happens whether we want it to or not. 

 

Once you accept the fact that change is one of life’s certainties then you have the choice of whether those changes will drive you or you will drive them. That means the real question is will the changes in your life happen to you or because of you.

 

If you want to drive the change in your life then you must decide what changes you want. You must be very specific about what you want, “better” isn’t nearly specific enough to make it happen. Knowing exactly what you want to be better is a key to having it. You’ll also find that being able to effectively communicate, to yourself and others, exactly why you want the improvement is a big help too.

 

When you know what you want then set your goals and make a plan on exactly how you’ll make the change come about. This is the part many people miss, they want to see a change but they have no plan to make it happen. You need a plan! 

 

Now here’s the thing about your plan… it’s very unlikely to work, at least exactly as you had drawn it up. Expect disruptions in your plan, your path to successful change with be littered with obstacles and nay-saying people. Push on!

 

While you may find your plan wasn’t perfect it’s likely your planning process was sufficient enough to allow you to get right back on course when someone or something pushes you off. 

 

Be patient but be sure you’re not just procrastinating. The very best time to begin your journey to successful change is the moment you’ve identified the change you desire. “Later,” “tomorrow,” and “someday” are just words that slow you down, or stop you all together. The word you need is “now” as in right now, immediately, today. 

 

Be sure to surround yourself with supportive people. Change isn’t easy but like everything else, it’s easier when we get some morale support along the way. Never allow anyone to tell you that you can’t succeed and for heavens sake, never say that self-defeating horrible thing to yourself. 

 

You are going to experience change in your life; for some people that’s pretty bad news, for others it’s pretty good news. I guess it just depends on if your sitting behind the steering wheel of the change bus or if you’re just along for the ride.


So…where are you sitting today?

How to Build a Better World

Your task is to build a better world,’ God said. I answered, ‘How?… this world is such a large, vast place, and there’s nothing I can do.’ But God said, in all His wisdom, ‘just build a better you.’ – Author Unknown

Every person I know seems to want a better world. Pretty much everybody you see on TV talk shows says they want a better world. All the politicians you hear and see are talking about how they have a plan to build a better world. 

All the plans seem to have one thing in common… Somebody else has to change or somebody else has to do better. It seems so daunting a task that few people actually attempt to make the world better. 

Pretty much everybody you see or hear talking about a better world forgets the easiest place to start… with themselves. It is just like the poem says, “build a better you.” 

Befriend people who aren’t like you. Don’t judge them, just try to understand them. Listen, really, really listen to someone who has a point of view very different than your own. Put yourself in their shoes and look at their point of view as if you were going to help them convince someone with your point of view… that your point of view is wrong. 

It’s very difficult to learn new things when we invest our time only with people who think like us, act like us, and do the things we do. Expand your horizons by expanding your sphere of influence, have a conversation with someone you normally wouldn’t at least once a week. 

Learn a foreign language and while you’re at it learn about the country and people who speak it natively. Don’t criticize someone else’s thinking without first understanding the origin of their thoughts. You may discover that the only reason you don’t like someone is because you don’t know them well enough.

Don’t wait for someone to ask for help, don’t offer to help someone who you think needs it… just help whenever and wherever you see help is needed. Don’t aspire to a position or title that people will follow, instead inspire them to follow the PERSON that YOU are. 

Never, never, never try to be someone that you’re not. Don’t try to imitate someone else, simply be the best you, the you that you have always been meant to be.

Invest time and energy in building a better you every single day and imagine just how much better the world would be if every other person followed your lead. 

If you really want to build a better world… then begin by building a better you!