School Is Never Out

“You can have more than you’ve got because you can become more that you are.” Jim Rohn

There is no excuse for ignorance in many parts of the world today — especially North America and Europe. There are about 100,000 books published every year in the United States alone. And almost every community has a library or an Internet connection somewhere.

So I wonder, why do so many people insist on remaining ignorant? Why do they refuse to learn the skills or take on the attitudes that would guarantee their happiness and success?

I can answer those questions in six words. “IT JUST DOESN’T HURT THAT MUCH.” It doesn’t hurt that much to remain IGNORANT.

Let me explain through a story told by Les Brown. He talked about a man walking to work one day. There were dogs on just about every front porch, and they all barked as the man passed them.

However, there was one dog that just sat there whimpering, whining, and moaning — making the kinds of sounds a wounded dog would make. Of course, the man was curious as to why this dog wasn’t barking like the other dogs and why he was whimpering. He couldn’t figure it out but kept on walking to work.

The next day the same thing happened. The same dogs barked and the one dog groaned. It went on for an entire week. The man just couldn’t figure it out.

But one day the man got fed up. He knocked on the door of the house where the whining dog sat. A woman came out and asked, “Yes, may I help you?”

The man said, “Mam, is this your dog?” She said, “Yes, that’s my dog.”

“Well what’s wrong with him?” the man asked. The owner of the dog said, “What do you mean?”

“Well, he’s been sitting here moaning and groaning for an entire week.” The man said, “The rest of the dogs are barking. Why is your dog moaning and groaning instead of barking?”

The dog owner replied, “Well he’s actually sitting on a nail.”

The man said, “What! Your dog is sitting on a nail. Why doesn’t he get off?” The owner said, “Well it just doesn’t hurt him enough.”

How true! And how profound! In fact, I’ll bet you know a lot of people like that — including some of your coworkers and family members. They talk about the changes they want to make but never do anything about it.

And as a professor for 15 years and a professional speaker the last 21 years, I know there’s a very small percentage of people who SERIOUSLY want to learn. Oh sure, some people give lip service to new ideas, but very few of them ever seem to integrate this new information into their life.

By contrast, the Take-Charge Champions in life are absolutely opposed to ignorance and completely dedicated to learning. They pursue the “good life” that I saw posted on a bulletin board in Bangkok, Thailand.

In fact, it’s a sign that hangs on the wall of my classroom in Bangkok when I teach for Thai Airways — one of my oldest and favorite clients. The sign says, “There are three ingredients in the good life: yearning, learning, and earning.

So I have to ask you, are you in a continual learning mode? Are you spending as much time, money, and energy on your education as your entertainment?

And please don’t tell me that you’re finished with school. Don’t tell me that you’ve already graduated from high school or college. That’s not the end. That’s merely the beginning.

As Jim Rohn says, “Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune.” And from this point of view, SCHOOL IS NEVER OUT.

Using Rohn’s definition, are you getting enough “self-education?”

One of my friends, Lee Labrada, the former Mr. Universe says, “The champion walks a path of never-ending self-improvement.” Lee could have sat back and taken it easy after his amazing victories, but he went on to become a best-selling author and the founder of one of the finest nutritional products company in the country.

Did you catch his words? “A path of never-ending self-improvement.” From the mouth of a champion, you get the definition of a true champion.

Lee went on to say, “A true champion always challenges himself to achieve more and more, and never rests on his laurels. A true champion doesn’t get comfortable. He is always looking for ways to improve. He realizes that the road to oblivion is paved with the remains of those that got complacent. A champion realizes that to win externally in the outside world, he must first win internally, at the very core of his being.”

Successful people have that kind of thirst for learning. And as a result, successful people know the things they need to know to be successful. They possess specific information, and skills, and if they need to upgrade their information and skills, they find people who have those things.

This week I challenge you to look at yourself and your dedication to learning. After all, you will never get better at anything by using yesterday’s knowledge or last year’s skills.

Action:  Devote 10 minutes a day to reading or listening to materials that will advance your life and your career. Ten minutes a day will give you about 60 hours of extra learning per year. And the difference that will make in your life is HUGE.