Most of us have seen gorgeous sunsets before, but when was the last time you purposefully sat and watched the sun set?
My wife and I took a trip to San Clemente, Calif. to visit a customer. As we sat in the customer’s backyard, talking and watching the sun set over Catalina Island, I found the view absolutely breathtaking.
After seeing this gorgeous sunset, I found myself with a renewed sense of appreciation for the majestic beauty all around me. It seemed that the humdrum of daily living had watered down my appreciation of natural beauty the same way fluorescent lights can sap your energy if they are your only exposure to light.
Books are like gorgeous sunsets because, though they are understood, they are wholly underappreciated and undervalued.
So, why don’t more people read? People don’t read often enough because they have lost touch with their student state-of-mind. We find ourselves looking at a book and quickly determining whether or not we already “know” the information contained in the book. If we do “know” the material covered in the book, we minimize its perceived value. If we do not “know” the material covered in the book, it is written off as invalid. Both outcomes lead to the book being left, unread, on the table.
I already knew the sun was going to set, I knew where it was going to set, and I could look in the newspaper and know exactly what time it was going to set. However, this “knowing” did not take away from the breathtaking experience of watching the sun set over the western horizon. Experiencing this sunset renewed my appreciation for what it represents — so much so that I could not resist standing and applauding in front of my hosts.
The real value of learning lies in how it changes you — in how it enhances who you are and what you are able to contribute to the world. Learning is not something you acquire nor is it something you ever finish. Learning is a state-of-mind that lies at the heart of success and voracious reading lies at the heart of all learning.
The choice is simple: You can hang your future upon that degree and pat yourself on the back for having learned — even though you know deep down that you are not practicing that which you have learned. Or, take that degree off the wall and declare that you will be a student for life.
When you declare yourself a lifelong student, everything changes; you will see the world differently. You will start to search for ways to improve. You will acknowledge that there is a lot you do not know, and you will appreciate the fact there is always a way to improve. As a lifelong student, you will no longer lay claim to the ownership of knowledge.
Whether you are trying to balance the family budget or trying to bring a new product to market, there are countless works available to keep you sharp, keep you fresh, and keep you constantly improving the world we share.
If you are an accountant, read a book on gardening and you will find things that will help you serve your clients. If you are an artist, grab a book on economics and you will find symmetries that may spark an idea for your next masterpiece.
Build a strong foundation by grabbing a book; and, when you are given a beautiful idea, stand up, applaud, and feel the passion reverberate through every cell in your body.
For powerful ways to become a lifelong student go to www.boltfromtheblue.com and enter the work SUNSET in the blueprint box. Tom Richard is a Toledo-based sales and marketing consultant, keynote speaker and owner of Bolt from the Blue direct response advertising. Call (419) 441-1005.