“Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle.” —Napoleon Hill
The message is simple. Never stop. Never stop growing, never stop learning, never stop reaching.
“What am I supposed to reach for?” you might ask? That’s a good question.
The simple answer is never to stop reaching for whatever is next. It might be the next step on the corporate ladder you’re climbing. Perhaps it’s the next significant accomplishment you want to complete.
Maybe you’re reaching for a significant life goal. The next business you’re dreaming of starting. The book you’ve been longing to write; or the next level of income you’re hoping to receive. It might just be the next level of growth and wisdom you know you want to reach.
Often, whatever it is, it’s just out of reach; you’ll have to stretch. Stretching is good. It increases our abilities, our knowledge, our reservoir, our strength, our intellect, our perspective, our understanding. Stretching is good because it makes us stronger and over time, as we grow stronger, we get better.
I have concluded that in my own life, the moment I stop growing is the moment I start dying. I never want to stop growing; I want to keep reaching. I have a thirst for knowledge but more than that, I want wisdom.
Knowledge is useless unless you want to go around annoying people at parties by reciting random and pointless facts. If that’s you, you’ll have about as many friends as Cliff Clavin, the fictional mail carrier on the old sitcom “Cheers.”
Wisdom is far more critical.
“Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?” –T. S. Eliot
Wisdom is what you do with the knowledge. Its how you live life; it’s how you put that knowledge to use. It’s what helps you help others. And it’s the key to growing.
Therefore, never stop. Never stop learning, never stop growing, never stop reaching. That’s where the prize is.
How does one do that? Let me give you four simple action steps.
1. Read to grow.
Read…but not just anything. Skip the tabloids. Avoid gossip magazines. I would suggest not wasting time with the newspaper.
Read a book. Read a series of articles on a new topic. Read a trade journal that will equip you for your job or vocation. Read to become a better person.
Read that which will make you better at what you do for a living. Read to advance your career.
Read things that will inform and instruct; read things that will inspire.
Do you realize how far ahead of everyone you work with you will be? A recent study indicates that the average American has read just four books in the last twelve months.
Get out ahead of the crowd.
Read to grow.
2. Listen to get better.
Kevin Kruse often talks about the number 1,440. At one point he put a big sign on his door: 1,440.
That’s the number of minutes we receive every day. I bring it up because that’s all you’re going to get today. That’s all you got yesterday; that’s all you will receive tomorrow. No more.
Time is more valuable than money. You can get more money, but you cannot get more time. Jim Rohn
What will you do with your 1,440 minutes? Yes, we’ll use some of them will for things like driving to work, running errands, working out, or mowing the lawn.
Why not combine those activities with listening?
Listen to podcasts. Listen to audiobooks. Listen to instructional and inspirational pieces. Listen to TED talks.
Learn a new language. Pick up some investment ideas. Increase your leadership skill set. Improve your marriage or your relationship with your kids. There is no limit to what you can learn through listening
Ignore the pooled ignorance of talk radio shows. Instead, invest in your future. You’ll never regret it.
Listen to get better.
3. Watch to learn.
I’m told they’ve been around for quite some time. I’m not sure. I’ve only discovered them in the last couple of years, but I’ve come to love this new thing called documentaries. Did you know they existed? What a great concept.
The beauty of these fantastic programs is that not only do you get to watch a compelling story, but you also experience the benefit of learning something without going through the pain of having to learn it through experience.
“When people tell me they’ve learned from experience, I tell them the trick is to learn from other people’s experience.” —Warren Buffett
It sounds like a winner to me
Watch to learn.
4. Write to remember.
The last practice I suggest is to write.
Don’t be alarmed. I’m not suggesting that you have to write a book, or a blog post, or a magazine article.
You don’t have to write for public consumption at all.
But write. Write in a journal. Doodle your thoughts in a notebook. Dare to put words together to form sentences and paragraphs.
Write for two reasons.
First, write to process all the new information you’re taking in through reading, listening and watching. Writing will help you make sense of all the latest knowledge you’re discovering.
“Thoughts disentangle themselves when they pass through the lips and fingertips.” —Dawson Trotman
Write to clarify the concepts you’re picking up through your reading and listening and even watching. It’s a way to ponder all the new information you’re taking in. A great place to do this is in a journal.
Write down the thoughts that come to you in a journal or notebook that you can keep and refer to often.
Writing in your journal, as Benjamin Hardy has suggested, can play a huge role, not only in your growth but in achieving your goals and even creating your future.
Write down the new ideas and information to help yourself remember what you’re learning. Ryan Holiday talks about a “notecard system” that a mentor once taught him. He uses it to remember, organize, and use everything he reads.
You can do that too.
Write to remember.
To sum up
You are given 1,440 minutes to use today. How will you use them? Will you have made positive use of them? Or will they slip away?
Will you use them to build your tomorrow? Or will they just become part of the history of yesterday?
One thing is certain. Those minutes won’t stop. They’ll keep on ticking by.
Perhaps we shouldn’t stop either. Ever.
Never stop growing, never stop learning, never stop reaching.
Is your organization growing? For a quick check-up on how it can grow more effectively, grab my Intentional Leadership Checklist and take your company to new heights.
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