Be A Student, Always !!
October 14, 2020
I am blessed to have amazing mentors who have guided me through the years, and they continue to inspire and guide me even now, with all their wisdom and sagacity. They are very successful role models wearing many hats- CEO, Entrepreneur, Teacher, Coach, etc.
When I look at their success, one common feature stands out. They seem to know it all- whether it’s about the nitty-gritty of their work, people, relationships, politics, economics, productivity, performance management, and anything else that can be arcane. They seem to somehow know a lot more than “something” about everything that matters.
Over the years, I have wondered how they manage it, and I have concluded this.
They are all “Students” at heart.
Going beyond my mentors to broadly look at anyone successful in whatever they do, what stands out is that they are always curious, and learning all the time.
Whether conversing with a working veteran of 20 years or a fresh graduate, successful people have the same approach. They listen, seek to understand, and are genuinely interested in what the other person has to say. No matter the setting, be it on the Golf course, Walk in the park, A Social gathering, these people have their “Student” mindset always on.
“Can you tell me how on creates a website ?”
“What is the coding language you use to develop a website?”
“What are the common mistakes in creating websites?”
“How do you prepare for a concert?”
“Tell me about your practice regimen.”
“How to measure your progress?”
“But, I am a Finance guy, and I am not interested in Music.”
Many of us have this mistaken notion. We think learning means it has to do with my job or what I do.
“I am not interested in Music or economics. So what is there to ask or chat about?”
So, we don’t engage, and we don’t participate. We think, “what can this person teach me.” This attitude is a blind spot for many.
The smart, successful people I have seen are ALWAYS asking questions. Their interest is not in the subject as much as in the knowing and learning. They are always looking to learn and connect the dots. Remember the famous story of Steve Jobs attending a Calligraphy course on a whim at Reed college, which eventually inspired the elegant Macintosh Computer.
I’d like to believe that this “student” attitude has rubbed off on me. I am always curious and looking out for what and how others think. I believe there is learning in the most innocuous of conversations with the unlikeliest of people. One needs to have a spirit of curiosity and open-mindedness. Almost all my daily blog ideas have come from chats with my kids, spouse, mentors, mentees, friends, and references from books and other blogs. There is so much to learn and imbibe. It’s incredible.
So, what have you got to lose? If you have something on your mind, ask the next person you meet a few questions. And, if the response you get sparks an exciting idea in your head, don’t be surprised. Equally, if you don’t get an interesting answer, don’t stress. Just ask the next person you meet.
As I was browsing Goodreads for a quote to end this blog with, I came across this fantastic nugget by Ralph Waldo Emerson, which says, “Do you know the secret of the true scholar? In every man, there is something wherein I may learn of him; and in that, I am his pupil.”
Amen to that-Be a student, always !!