Life is Hard; It’s Harder if You’re Stupid. Be a Life-Long Learner.

Truer words were never spoken.  Thank you Mr. Wayne! You were oh, so wise!

Now, in this context, the definition of stupid is: lacking ordinary quickness and keenness of mind; dull. (from While you and others may not consider yourself to be stupid, I want to challenge you to think about it in terms of being stale.  Are working in the land of status quo or are you consistently looking for new information to learn and apply?

Ask yourself:

  • Do I do the same things in the same way?
  • Do I seek out others’ opinions and perspectives?
  • Do I just use the Internet for email, connecting with friends and shopping?
  • Do I make time to learn new things?

I’m here to make the case that if you are not a life-long learner, you will fall into that “stupid” category and risk losing your edge or seat at the table.  Then, my friend, life will indeed, be harder!

So are you up for making life a little less hard?  Here are some ideas to consider:

  • Take at least an hour each week to hop on the Internet and do some research or read articles.  I love and subscribe so I get an email each day that highlights articles and blogs that interest me.  You can select your industry and also get news related to your career and leadership. It’s an excellent source and offers easy access to tons of info.  I also love this Smartblog from  Dana Theus. She has a three-part video series on this the topic of life-long learning and how it builds the “invisible resume” of leaders. Check it out!
  • Take advantage of the many FREE webinars that are out there. One group that offers a variety of topics is the Human Capital Institute. You can even bring your team together for lunch in a conference room and participate in the webinar together. It’s a great way to expose the team to new perspectives and begin a healthy dialog on the subject…a little Lunch ‘n Learn, if you will. PeopleSync is another resource. In fact, two of my PeopleResults colleagues, (Kristi Erickson and Barbara Milhizer) will be hosting a webinar on June 7th: “The Elimination of Performance Management.”
  • Read, Read, Read!  It doesn’t have to just be on work-related topics, but pay attention and ask yourself, “is there anything here I can learn from and apply in some way?” Taking new ideas or approaches and applying them in LIFE, work or personal, is always a good thing.
  • Be curious! Ask questions. Taking an interest in what others know is flattering and you will be amazed at how much they are willing to share with you. Take advantage of that plethora of information that may be sitting right next to you.

While you may think you don’t have time for all this, you are wrong! I firmly believe you make time for what is important and if staying at the top of your game is important to you, then I think it’s time well spent.

Here’s to “yearnin’ for some learnin’.”… Not sure if John Wayne spoke those words, but it kinda sounds like something he might say.

Martha Duesterhoft is a Partner with PeopleResults. Follow her on Twitter @Mduesterhoft or connect by email at