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There Is No Acceptable Alternative to Growth

Learn new things. Don’t ever stop learning.

Did you ever find that just when you think you know everything about a subject, you learn something new?

We are always learning. But how often do you go out of your way to learn?

Most of us learned how to read when we were about five or six years old. Did it ever occur to you that there might be a better way to read? You are following the same techniques you acquired when you were five. Why not investigate to see if there are new or better ways? Why not take a speed-reading course? It’s fairly inexpensive and easy to bear, and it doesn’t take up that much time. If you use the computer fairly often and can’t touch type, why not learn? If you work with people whose native language is not English, why not learn their language? When was the last time you took a course on anything? Why not now?

Learning and growth should be synonymous. In order to learn you must be surrounded by people from whom you can learn. And that doesn’t always mean people smarter than you. An employee once asked me how I learned new things. One way is actually by the questions employees ask me. Not the questions that substitute for them looking something up, but truly insightful questions. Queries about why something is done a particular way, or the reasoning behind the methods, or even why something is necessary, can lead to learning by forcing you to rethink something that, somewhere along the way, became too obvious to you.

I once asked someone in his late seventies why he spends so much time learning and doing new things. He replied, “It’s harder to hit a moving target!”

I am generally surrounded by entrepreneurs, so I am sometimes surprised by the comments of people that indicate closure on their energies. I have found that some people that work for large organizations usually know their retirement date many years in advance. I have also observed that as they approach that date [usually about four to six years earlier] their minds stop becoming active in the functions of bettering their position. They become settled in at what they are doing and bide their time until they get that gold watch. Entrepreneurs, on the other hand, always seem to be looking for that next deal, their next big score, or the next step for their business. They are more stimulating to be with because nothing ever stays the same, and the learning never takes a vacation or retires.

Following is an inscription on a card I tell new staff to carry and look at on their way home each workday:

Ask yourself at the end of each day:

“What did I learn today?”
“What did others learn from me?”

If you do not get good answers
to both questions,
then perhaps that job or the people
you work with are not for you.

When you stop learning, you die. When you stop growing, you die. The only thing that might be delayed is putting your body into the coffin.

Learning new things should be fun; sometimes it can be an arduous process, but it requires a start. Any action that moves you closer to what you want to learn is positive and worthwhile.

Reprinted from Power Bites: Short and to the Point Management, Leadership and Lifestyle Advice I Give My Clients! by Edward Mendlowitz, CPA ©2010. Available for sale at

Do not hesitate to contact me with any business or financial questions at [email protected] or fill out the form below.

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