Learn until you die – this was the mantra of a martial arts instructor I once trained under. There’s always something to learn. If there wasn’t you would be dead. A refusal to learn is a refusal to live. Setting limits for yourself stifles any chance of growth.
The least useful aphorism to take seriously is “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” It’s a lie…!!
Typically many of us as undergraduates in our late teens and early twenties were primarily motivated by partying and experimenting in all its guises. Interesting to note the difference with mature students who return to study a masters or phd years later – they genuinely want to learn, that’s their key motivation.
Learn & Adapt… or Die
So it seems that maybe the will to learn is actually linked to longevity and the struggle to survive. Adapt or die is a harsh lesson for individuals and businesses alike. Just ask HMV, Blockbuster, Woolworths etc. They either didn’t adapt whatsoever or did not adapt quickly or effectively enough.
The Best Learning is Unlearning
Bruce Lee’s take on the spiritual teachings associated with martial arts was that all his training was part of a bigger journey of unlearning. That each kick and punch was aimed squarely at his own ego, slowly chipping away over time to eventually reveal some semblance of absolute truth.
Similarly, the artist who stands still is the artist who goes backwards. Getting curious, making changes, trying new things and so moving forwards despite inevitable obstacles are the way of survival and potentially the way of success. Which kind of explains the relentless success of Madonna – an average dancer and mediocre singer who has been nothing short of prolific. She has endured through a genius knowing of when and how to reinvent herself.
Now just imagine if Madonna with her wily business outlook could have been the CEO of HMV, Blockbuster, Woolworths etc….
Sartaj Garewal is the founder of Dynamic Presenting – a creative, leadership development consultancy, adapting theatre training to create leadership programs for business.
Dynamic Presenting – Enabling Powerful CommunicationTags: Adaptability, Emotinal Intelligence, Flexibility, Innovation, Leadership Development, management training, Self Improvement