Live Out the Kaizen Way
We’re influenced by the books we read, by the media we view, and by the people we hang out with. I’ve also learned that there are other ways to keep evolving, expanding, and increasing in our personal growth, career development, and spiritual depth. In this next series of blogs, I suggest four practical ways to feed your hunger for learning and to help you maximize your potential. These principles have worked for me, as well as for many people I know. They will work for you, too.
The Power of a Wisdom Community
Many well-meaning people in both their personal lives and professional careers can drift into a delusional mindset that they have “arrived.” It’s a myth to think that we have acquired all that we need to “get tomorrow’s job done.” The truth is that wise people never rest on their laurels; they know that past successes can hinder future achievement more than failure, if they let it. Much of what we “need” for tomorrow must be developed along the way. That’s where a wisdom community comes in to play. Smart people learn how to collect wisdom from others. They learn with and through others. Life moves too fast to collect all of what we need just by our own process of trial and error. There are two teachers in life: wisdom and consequences.
Pay Now or Pay Later
Wisdom understands that everyone has to “pay” in life. No one gets around this truth long-term. Pay now or pay later, but make no mistake, everyone will pay. Wisdom believes this truth, and therefore is willing to initiate the necessary discipline upfront to pay now, and to do the hard things on the front end so it can enjoy the easy things later. Wisdom’s rewards often have a kind of time-delay to them, but when they come, they’re sweet.
Truth or Consequences
Consequences are just the opposite. People believe they can beat the system. They despise discipline. They choose the easy way now with hopes that the hard way will never come. In the end, they are always proved wrong. If we don’t sign up to learn from the teacher of wisdom, then by default, we end up enrolled in the classroom of consequences. My friend and author, Wayne Corderio, talks about how both wisdom and consequences are good teachers. Both impart value lessons to us. Both make us wiser. It’s just that consequences bring more pain, tears, lost money, broken relationships, and wasted time. The good news is that it’s never too late to transfer out of one classroom into another! It’s always just one decision away.
All that is to say that we can learn life lessons, gain experiences, glean knowledge, and garner understanding from both. The problem with the teacher of consequences is that she builds a leader’s capacity much slower, and in the global world of today, that just doesn’t cut it. Lifelong learners know how to gather wisdom beyond their own experience. They learn from others. They leverage off of others’ mistakes and successes, and thereby deposit gems of wisdom into their own personal “bank account” as it were. We learn best in the context of community. Place yourself into a wisdom community where you can learn from and with others. You’ll be glad you did.