Become a knucklehead. Consciously Stop Learning.

Recently people gathered in a hotel ballroom to watch and hear speakers in a different city talk live about leadership on a simulcast. The day, Leadercast, was amazing and featured some of the top speakers in the world (Simon Sinek, Malcolm Gladwell, Andy Stanley, Dr. Henry Cloud, and even Archbishop Desmond Tutu). There were only 150 in attendance for this learning opportunity when there was room for three times as many.

Where were the other 300 people? They were back at work attending to deadlines, answering emails and justifying why they are far too busy to learn. In other words, they had an excuse.

Too Busy

Busy is the new justification for not continuing to learn. As a result of the economic downturn beginning in 2007, many workers, managers and executives have resigned themselves to not having enough time for development, training and learning.

Sexual harassment, blood born pathogen and annual forklift safety training classes? Of course there is plenty of time for that type of learning. Human resource cops have deemed it all as necessary to avoid law suits.

In fact, many human resource departments have stopped doing what they were originally designed to do: Develop the human resource of the companies they serve.
HR Cops were given the job of avoiding lawsuits and laying people off without getting sued. It is not the HR executives’ fault. They lost their way out of necessity and their companies have allowed it.

Smart companies know that the bottom line and long term growth of their companies depend on the development of their people. The short term, gristmill approach to doing business no doubt provides profit, but at what cost?

So how do we develop ourselves in this environment? I have news for you there, Sparky: It is up to you.

Consciously Not Learning

One of my first managers of my career proudly told me he had NOT picked up a book since he graduated college. He said it with the same sense of pride that an executive recently used on me when he said, “I don’t tweet. I don’t even get this Twitter stuff!” They consciously stopped learning. Both are classified in my book as knuckleheads.

Don’t be a knucklehead

Stay out of my book of knuckleheads. Add some learning to your day; every day. Take 15 minutes to read a book. Listen to a book or a podcast as you ride to work or between appointments.

Watch short videos on various topics. Give up that mindless talk radio and reality TV once in a while and learn.

Right now I am reading Duct Tape Selling: Think Like a Marketer—Sell Like a Superstar and Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration In addition, I listen to Michael Hyatt’s weekly podcast and I am watching the videos from Leadercast on www.leadercastnow.com. How about you?

My Mission

I want you to grow and to have a chance to get ahead. I may be harsh, but when you proudly and consciously stop learning, you lose out on so much of what your life can offer. We spend so much of our lives working. Why not learn and challenge yourself to keep it interesting?

Believe me that I am an knucklehead in other people’s books because I don’t exercise enough or I don’t wear the right clothes or because I don’t find what they find to be important. I am fine with that. The difference is that learning helps not only you, but those around you.

There is a saying that “Wherever you go, there you are.” Wouldn’t you rather be wherever you are a bit better, a bit more knowledgable than you were yesterday?

Are you ready to begin the journey?

Comment below: What are you doing right now to continue the learning process? What is the last good book you read to expand your knowledge base? Other recommendations?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Al, as far as knuckleheads go, my grand father used to say, “The woods are full of them.” I met yesterday with the president of an international product research company, who impressed me with the discipline he had for his own personal development. he told me long ago he saw the “dots connect” between the individuals who continually learn also continually succeed in any business climate.
    He challenged himself to not only upgrade his already significant technical analysis capability and also added a blind spot he saw in human emotional intelligence. This seemed like extra work that he did not have time for in his crunched schedule, until the marketplace recently found significant value in understanding the “why” or human empathy and behavoir behind a purchase.
    He found himself at the head of a market trend and has led his company into a very successful new revenue stream. He is clear that his continual improvement procees is at the center of his continued success. He also places value in developing his organization, yet looks for individuals to act first. Where are the people who are hungry to learn and grow?
    Now it all looks like a great idea!
    I am reading Simon Sinek’s new book “Leaders Eat Last” which I recieved at Leadercast.
    I read mostly on Kindle, so I can save highlighted sections and notes to use in my presentations and writing. Currently reading “Boards That Make a Difference” by John Carver.

    • Your grandpa was a wise man, David. I should know, I grew up in those woods.
      The product research executive is spot on. There are so many layers to development and self-development that are ignored by many people. Like diet and exercise, it’s just a matter of making time in your day for it to occur.

      As you know, the great thing about self development plan is that it’s as close to your nearest library. If you have no personal budget for self-development, you can check out a book in the library for free. That begins your self development journey.