We learn by pushing ourselves

“We learn by pushing ourselves and finding out what lies at the outer reaches of our abilities.”

—Josh Waitzkin, American chess prodigy and author

Image of a man doing a handstand on the beach

Image from Unsplash by JanFillem

Did you know that only about one in five people meet the total recommended amount of exercise?

Of particular relevance is renewed interest in strength and resistance training. The stretching and stresses on our muscles cause micro-tears in the tissue, which then actually heals and grows even stronger.

This growth and increase in muscle mass has the added benefit of increasing your metabolism by up to 15%. That helps with weight loss, or at least a reduction in body fat.

EXERCISE:

In what areas of interest would a few more cerebral push-ups help you stretch and grow beyond your current perceived abilities?

You are allowed to be both

“You are allowed to be both a masterpiece and a work in progress simultaneously.”

—Sophia Bush, American Actress

Image of a child's finger painting next to The Mona Lisa

Are you a life-long learner?

Are you attracted to excellence and personal mastery?

Have you ever explored the biographies and life stories of acclaimed masters such as Benjamin Franklin, Charles Darwin, Leonardo DaVinci, Mozart, and Einstein?

If you have, you may have noticed common patterns and similarities among them. Most notably, they all dedicated their lives to the process of continual learning, growth, and contribution. Occasionally they had masterpiece moments that were recognized by others more than themselves.

My guess is that it was the many twists, turns, and efforts along their passionate journeys that made them so remarkable.

EXERCISE:

In what areas of your life are you most excited about and engaged in, being a work in progress?

What would personal mastery look like in these areas?

What steps can and will you take to make more of your life a masterpiece of living?

Consider reading Robert Greene’s 2012 best-selling book, Mastery, to explore this subject in greater detail.

My Joy in Learning

“My joy in learning is partly that it enables me to teach.”

—Seneca, first century Roman philosopher

Image from Unsplash by jeshoots.com

My coaching relationships begins with several “discovery” sessions in which my clients crystallize and clarify what they wish to learn and how they intend to grow.

I often joke with them that they are pursuing “A PhD in Me” through this unique and customized relationship.

In the early stages, they may look to me or others they respect and watch how we lead, manage, coach, or communicate. Very quickly they begin practicing and engaging in similar efforts to further their mastery journey. Soon after, or even at the same time, I encourage them to play the role of coach, mentor, or teacher to share what they are learning with others.

EXERCISE:

Where and with whom can you be a teacher to more joyfully experience the pleasure of learning and contribute more of yourself to others?

Learning is a Treasure

“Learning is a treasure whose keys are queries.”

—Arabian Proverb

Image of "A More Beautiful Question" Book Cover

Have you ever played the lottery hoping to strike it rich? Perhaps as a child you searched on a sandy beach, hoping to find a bit of buried treasure.

The daily pursuit of knowledge and nuggets of wisdom are a form of treasure hunt instantly available to you. Today’s quote points to the importance of curiosity and a mind filled with questions, as keys to opening the vaults and delights of learning.

EXERCISE:

Consider picking up a copy of A More Beautiful Question by Warren Berger to become a more masterful locksmith in opening the treasure chest of life-long learning.

Another book I like very much that will help in this area and develop your own proficiency as a coach is The Coaching Habit by Michael Bungay Stanier.

The test and use of education

“The test and use of man’s education is that he finds pleasure in the exercise of his mind.”

—Jacques Barzun, 20th Century French-American Historian

Image of a man sitting on a log

Image from Unsplash by Ben White

Perhaps nothing brings us more satisfaction on a daily basis than getting things done. Whether it is building something tangible, solving a challenging problem, or simply making a significant difference in the lives of others, we all need this fix to be pleased with ourselves.

It is likely our need to be useful and make a contribution to those around us that gives our lives meaning.

I have also noticed that most of my coaching clients enjoy exercising their minds, and find considerable enjoyment through continuous learning, which often leads to getting bigger and more significant things done.

EXERCISE:

Where and in what ways would greater exercise and stretching of your mind provide you the added pleasure of testing yourself, allowing you to get more done and making a bigger difference in your worlds?

Be Discerning about your Learning

“Be discerning about your learning.”

—Jenny Blake, author of Pivot: The only Move that Matters

Image of a man at a computer with a knife and fork in his hands

Image from One in a Billion

A while ago I attended a Detroit Tigers game at Comerica Park where, happily, the Tigers beat the Chicago White Sox 7-to-4, sweeping the series.

One of the best parts of going to the ballpark is the not-so-good-for-you-but-tasty food choices. Perhaps you are salivating already!

Recently, the owners of Comerica Park took the coaching of health-conscious fans and added a good variety of healthier choices to the menus of the Grab-and-Go carts and the Brushfire Grille.

Today’s quote is about the ingestion of information through a variety of resources, including all forms of media. Some of the media resources available today are considered “junk,” off limits, and perhaps even detrimental to our health and well-being.

EXERCISE:

How and in what way can you be far more discerning about your learning to ingest and digest only the highest quality choices and nuggets of wisdom that enhance your life?

Please consider sharing The Quotable Coach blog, or my book that contains 365 “nuggets of practical wisdom” with a friend, colleague, or family member.

Thank You!

Tomorrow Hopes We Have Learned Something from Yesterday

“Tomorrow hopes we have learned something from yesterday.”

—John Wayne, American film icon

Image of Past Present Future on a timeline

Image from SpaceSys

When you settle under the covers and reflect on your day, what factors bring you satisfaction and put a smile on your face? What represents a day well spent to you?

Most people would say learning something new, and making a positive contribution are keys to living a meaningful life.

EXERCISE:

What do you intend to learn and contribute today, to make for a much brighter tomorrow?

Never too Late to Learn

“It is never too late to learn to be on time.”

—Author Unknown

Image of a swirling clock

Image from Flickr by cea+

Time seems to fly these days, whether or not you are having fun. The pace of life has quickened, jamming our calendars, and stretching our schedules to the limit.

Unfortunately, these challenges come with some negative consequences in the form of emotional, physical, and social stressors.

How do you feel when you expect to be late, or miss an important commitment or deadline? How do you feel when family, friends, or work colleagues keep you waiting or don’t fulfill their promises? What does it cost you, and is it worth the price?

EXERCISE:

How and in what ways can you simplify your personal and professional worlds by reducing or eliminating the commitments that are simply not a priority? How can these changes provide you the added buffer to not only be on time, but fulfill virtually all of your personal and professional commitments?

The Things We Know Best

“The things we know best are things we haven’t been taught.”

—Luc de Clapiers, 18th Century Marquis de Vauvenargues

My first career, fresh out of college, was as a teacher. It was my belief at the time that it was my job to literally pour my knowledge of life science into the minds of 25 sixth grade students. What I discovered was that very little got in, and even less of my brilliant lessons stuck for more than a week or two.

One of my fascinations over the years, and particularly since I began my career in coaching, is what some call the “stickiness” factor. It turns out that most of life’s greatest and enduring lessons occur through experiential learning, in which the student is fully engaged, even lost, in their own inquiry.

EXERCISE:

What areas of personal or professional development are you and others in your world most open, interested, and excited about? How can you structure a deep and meaningful learning experience in these areas?

The more that you read

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”

-Dr. Seuss, pen name of Dr. Theodor Seuss Geisel

Image of The Cat in the Hat reading today's quote

image from Dr. Suess Entrprises

Dr. Seuss really knew what he was talking about with this quote!

According to DoSomething.org:

  • 2/3 of students who cannot read proficiently by the end of fourth grade will end up in jail or on welfare.
  • One in four children in America grows up without learning how to read.
  • Students who don’t read proficiently by the third grade are four times likelier to drop out of school.
  • Nearly 85% of the juveniles who face trial in the juvenile court system are functionally illiterate, proving that there is a close relationship between illiteracy and crime.

EXERCISE:

How will you, in this new year, make a greater commitment to reading and continuous learning, to support yourself and those you care about going to more wonderful places?