Make Yourself Better
Had you ever had the chance to watch television with my dad, you would have likely heard this coming from the speakers: “And now…the antelope grazes without realizing the danger that lurks just beyond the hedge line…” Or you might have heard, “Theories abound about black holes and their power to create and destroy. Do they lead to another dimension or do they simply destroy everything, turning matter into nothingness?”
Dad loved to learn. He wasn’t a lover of books, but he loved learning. He’d watch any kind of nature show that focused on how animals live and interact, and he’d watch the whole series. Documentaries about space and creation–he would watch the whole thing.
Dad was an avid golfer and bass fisherman. He’d watch golf and fishing tournaments–not for enjoyment–but to learn. He’d watch golf to learn how and when golfers broke their wrists during the swing, when they shifted their weight, and where to strike the ball. He’d watch them shape shots so that the ball would move where they desired. After watching, Dad would go to the range and practice…practice…practice.
He’d watch the Bassmaster Tournament Series on ESPN. Why? He wanted to watch how they fished. Was there a new technique? Was there a new bait that was attracting more fish? How were the pros using technology to read the shape of the land to understand how the fish moved?
Dad loved to learn…especially if it made him better at the things he enjoyed doing.
President Truman once said, “Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.” His point? Leaders love to learn.
In today’s world, you can learn in many ways–books, podcasts, audio books, TED talks, YouTube or by simply googling what interests you. The ways in which leaders can better themselves is almost innumerable. There’s no excuse for a leader to not be learning.
Make yourself better. Learn. Practice. Learn some more. Practice some more. Reading books is my preferred method. Books force me to focus and help my brain stop thinking about the stresses in my life that I would be experiencing if I weren’t reading. Dad watched all those shows because he knew he didn’t know everything. He was humble enough to recognize the skills of others and how they could make him better.
To be a better leader: read books about leadership, listen to lectures, or watch some TED talks. Be a student of your passion. Be a student long enough that you eventually become an expert. Be like Dad…keep learning. Do that, and you’ll be on the path to leadership endurance.