So, the following is the original article which started my thinking, which led to my usual tangential rambling. I hope you enjoy - if not you get what you paid for :-)
If You Don't Read This You're Gonna Die (catchy title huh?!)
November 8, 2010 by Mike Figliuolo at thoughtLEADERS, LLC
"As we get more senior in our organizations, we get a lot smarter. Our wisdom grows. We understand the business better than those around us....
Then - WHAM! The world smacks us upside the head with a powerful "didn't know that, didja?" Your business is in turmoil. Chaos. Confusion. Cows raining from the sky. Armageddon.
There's only one thing I know that can prevent those kinds of moments - learning. Ever heard "the day you stop learning is the day you die" thrown around before? Yeah. That...
If we all know that to be true, why do we insist on not learning? My thought: hubris. We demonstrate excessive pride and believe we've learned everything we need to. That's just flat dangerous.
So how can you avoid this fate of dying due to dumbness? I'm glad you asked...
- Accept You Don't Know Everything
- Figure Out What You Want to Know
- Go Learn
>> Continue Reading
And these are my thoughts after reading the article. The flow of ideas are similar to the path a liquid might take in a crazy straw... so bear with me please.
Micro Level - Personally
I've always been a huge believer in continuing to learn every day, every month, every year. Not just small lessons but big ones. 2 years ago I finally got off my butt and started to take Chinese classes at the local City College. I figured, that since I've been traveling to China since 1997, I'm only about a decade late ! That was hubris on my part big time; that I assumed there should be a translator for me or the people I work with should speak English. Hello! There are nearly 2 billion of them, and just one of me!
My newly acquired language skills have already helped me in communication and more importantly in developing relationships with my overseas partners from the sample maker in the factory to the General Manager. I've found they are more willing to work with me, go the extra mile, and want to create a better product because of my efforts. Not too mention I'm able to negotiate better prices :-) !
Macro - The United States
On a larger scale, I see the US as a big example of this problem of unwillingness to continue to learn, because we 'know it all' hubris!
We, as a country need to step back and examine the new reality of the global market. Not just the China effect, but India, Africa, and the Middle East. We (including the EU) need to understand that we have a lot to learn about these cultures, people, and politics in order to begin to try to understand them, rather than imposing our beliefs upon them.
I've been thinking recently that the US has become that bully in High School who made your life miserable; He's the oh so popular captain of the football team with the hot cheerleader girlfriend. The other students walk down the hallways, looking down at the ground for fear of being noticed then bullied, beat up, or made fun of. (Sound familiar?)
But, as we have all learned from years of "After School Specials", Hallmark Movies, Disney Chanel Shows, Dateline Specials, and John Hughes Movies, 10 years after High School, those big bullies and their bleached blond bubble-head wives are barely scraping by and heading towards divorce. Meanwhile, the nerds, freaks, and geeks are thriving. Some have already launched their first IPO and become billionaires. (Eg: Mark Zuckerberg, Richard Branson (entrepreneur.com blog), Tony Hawk, see previous Blog Post about the quirky young Modcloth Millionaire). As we all try to preach to our youth, High School, while it seems like everything in life, is only a brief moment in our lives that we will enjoy or endure, but it will still end and life will go on.
|'Tis but a scratch'|
'A scratch?! Your arm's off!'
'No, it isn't.'”
Monty Python The Holy Grail
But it doesn't have to happen that way! The US can be the star quarterback, with a 4.0 GPA, a PhD From MIT, and a newly public company founded with his friends from his High School Math Club! His wife, the head cheerleader, is a Biochemical Engineer and has just patented a zero emission fuel which uses a photosynthesis method. She has been nominated for the Nobel prize, and her friends from the Glee Club are busy with their own amazing careers but they still get together over the holidays to sing for charity.
PS - This same lesson can be told with a Jersey Shore analogy