Charles ‘Tremendous’ Jones said, “You will be the same person in five years as you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read.”
That’s about Leveraging the Life Experiences of Others…
You and your people cannot experience life fast enough in order to grow at a pace necessary to achieve your goals and your organisation’s goals. To grow fast, you need to learn from others and their experiences, and that comes from the people you meet and the books you read (or the audio you listen to or video you watch).
There’s an old saying, “If you are the smartest person in a room, you need a new room!” You become as those around you, so it’s important to surround yourself with people that are better than you and who will lift you to a higher level of performance. Remember, you will always grow to the level of those around you.
Also, what you experience may be new to you, but not others. You can learn from those who have already lived through that experience and learn from both how they “thought” and what they “did”. The books you read, the audio you listen to, and the video you watch…help you to learn from the experiences of others (both their successes for you to repeat and also their failures for you to avoid).
…and then it’s about Applying those Learnings to your Life
Remember, what you learn from others only has power if you apply it! Also, it is often about your ability to bring back that learning at the right time…when you need it most…that makes all the difference. Here’s the way to store and retrieve that learning when you need it most.
Very often when you are reading a book, you will say to yourself “That’s interesting”, and then you keep on reading. If you keep your thoughts at a “that’s interesting” level, you never get to thinking about the ACTION you could take from what you have learned. It is only after you have applied the learning that you begin to develop yourself and make changes in your life.
Therefore, you need to turn “that’s interesting” into ACTION with the following…
When you say to yourself “that’s interesting”, then stop reading and ask yourself the following question:
How would I apply this to my life?
Why? Because when you think about how you can apply the learning, you are then thinking in an “Action Mode” and storing the learning in the way you would use it (action it). This is just like wiring your brain for action, and then the next time you have a similar experience in your own life, your brain offers up the learning and says, “try this”.
What you have done is stored the learning in “how you would use it”, and not on how you have learned it. When either reading a book or interacting with others, when you hear yourself say “that’s Interesting”, always stop and ask yourself the question “How would I apply this to my life”?
In summary, your leadership success is based on how well you and your people are leveraging the life experiences of others and applying those learnings to your own lives.
Mark Fritz is an international leadership speaker & Managing Director of Procedor, an international consultancy focused on helping international business leaders to achieve even greater success in leading across distances & cultures. He has lived & worked across the world and speaks regularly on the Power of Ownership in leading today’s organisations.