Published - November 2006

By Dave Jakielo

Head-of-The-Pack Mentality
The More You Know the More You Grow

It’s hard to believe another year is almost over. As we take a moment to reflect back, I wonder how many of us have made a dent in our resolutions. Remember those high hopes last January of what we intended to achieve in the months of 2006? I’m assuming that we didn’t completely miss our targets.

Hopefully, you accomplished some if not all of your goals for this past year. But if you didn’t it’s never too late to get started. As the Chinese proverb states, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, the second best time is now.”

There probably were a multitude of items you set out to accomplish. One of the most important that should be included on your list every year is to learn something new everyday.

Establishing the habit of become a continuous learner is one of the most powerful success strategies you can embrace. Many think the learning process stops after that last final exam we take in school. After we have completed our formal studies, there is a little ceremony called “Commencement.” How many of us interpret graduation as an ending? Surprise—Webster’s defines commencement as a beginning.

Research shows that it takes 21 days to break or establish a habit. Given that we have free will, we can decide which habits to break or establish. It is our choice whether we invest 30 to 60 minutes a day in growing our minds or sit in front of the television and grow our butts.

Here are some ideas to help you grow and prosper. Take advantage of this list to expand your mind and improve your knowledge base:

  • Read at least three business magazines per week. You’ll see what other successful people are accomplishing and jump start your mind to come up with your own ideas. It isn’t necessary to read a magazine cover to cover: scan the table of contents and pick out articles that are of interest to you. Plus it’s not mandatory that you spend a ton of money subscribing to various magazines (however you should subscribe to your favorite); your local public library is a great resource and it’s free.

  • Attend a conference or seminar. These venues are valuable not only for the learning potential, but they are a great place to network, reconnect with past acquaintances, and re-energize yourself.

  • Attend a class offered at your local college. Many community colleges have a plethora of classes to choose from and whether the class is directly related to your career or to your hobby, it doesn’t matter. The key is to learn something new.

  • Read books related to skills you are trying to improve or refine. There are thousands of books on ever topic. Surely you’ve heard someone described as “a natural born leader”? Well, one of those folks show up in about every one million persons, so you’re probably one of the remaining 999,999 of us who need help. Read a minimum of one book a month on leadership, sales, marketing, or what ever skill you are trying to improve.

  • Listen to educational materials. OK, if you’ve no time to read (I doubt that’s truly the case) then kill two birds with one stone by listening to a book or a program on tape. I add my favorite programs to my MP3 player, which then allows me to multitask. For example, I can learn while taking my daily walk. Again no need to invest a ton of money, the most popular educational programs are available at many public libraries.

  • Turn dead time into “educational time.” Your car can be a rolling university. If you drive more than 20 minutes a day to work, in a year’s time that will be the equivalent of three college courses. Listening to the morning news can lead to day-long depression. I figure if I wasn’t murdered over night I really don’t need to hear about who was. Listen to something that stimulates your mind.

Lastly, remember in today’s world, it’s not enough to play “catch up,” we need to stay ahead of the pack to be successful. And remember the more we know the more we grow.

Sign up for my FREE weekly success tips at, and if you have any questions or comments about this column you can contact me at Seminars & Consulting, 86 Hall Avenue, Pittsburgh PA 15205 or at 412-921-0976 or via e-mail at You can sign up for his FREE weekly Success Tips at

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