When I interview folks for a managerial or leadership position, I frequently ask about their preferred learning style. “Hands on” is the most frequent answer. My stock reply is to quote Eleanor Roosevelt: “You need to learn from the mistakes of others because you will never have time to make them all yourself.”
Don’t get me wrong: Hands on learning is powerful; seeing something done personally conveys rich detail and an emotional/experiential component that drives the lesson deep; I like it too. The point is that there is both an inherent time and scope limit to “hands on” learning and so those who wish to make the most of themselves, to be their best selves more often, must deliberately and consciously expand their learning styles. Books, audible, digital or physical, offer an incredible vast storehouse of human experience. Every book I consume contains the life learnings of an individual, a life of experiences mine for the reading. Thus, I absorb a wealth of wisdom, get to live vicariously hundreds if not thousands of lives, gaining the benefit of their hands on learning and all the better, their reflections on and analysis of their struggles and triumphs.
My next question is usually: “What is your plan to grow yourself?” Most replies are vague and rambling i.e. there is no plan really. I then often ask “What is the next non-fiction book you intend to read?” with the follow up questions of “Why?” and “How does it fit into your plan/desire to grow yourself?”. Once again, most have no plan. Many want the fruits of success, fewer are willing to do the work, the planning, the constant follow through.
“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies; the non-reader lives only one.” – George R.R. Martin, ‘Game of Thrones’
“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you will go.” – Dr. Seuss, 1904-1991
“Have a plan. Follow the plan, and you’ll be surprised how successful you can be. Most people don’t have a plan. That’s why it’s easy to beat most folks.” – Bear Bryant, 1913-1983
As always, I share what I most want and need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier