“The chief function of the body is to carry the brain around.”

“The chief function of the body is to carry the brain around.”

—Thomas Edison

Sillhouette of a child with drawing of a brain

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Tomorrow is my grandson Weston’s first birthday. There are so many people in his life that want to celebrate this special day that my daughter rented a pavilion in a local park to accommodate everyone.

Watching the transformation of Weston’s body and brain this year through visits and video calls has been a delight. Rolling, crawling, cruising, and of course being carried and taken many places has revealed an exponential development of how he takes in and interacts with the world.

EXERCISE:

Where will your body take your brain today? What wonderful sights, experiences, and people will you meet to bring new lessons and growth opportunities into your life?

In every man there is something

“In every man there is something wherein I may learn of him, and in that I am his pupil.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson, 19th Century American essayist and poet

Image of two people talking at a business meeting

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There is a wise saying about the fact that we have one mouth and two ears, and should use them proportionately.

For most of us, coaching, teaching, advising, and mentoring others, although with good intentions, plays into the fact that we often prefer to be interesting rather than interested.

Consider yourself an explorer or a miner looking for the gold in “them thar’ hills.” To reap such riches, the only tools you would need would be an open set of eyes, ears, and of course, an open mind.

EXERCISE:

In what area of your life is it far more important to be the pupil rather than the teacher?

What is it that you most wish to learn to support either your personal or professional life?

Who are the specific teachers in your world that hold the wisdom you seek?

we learn by taking action

“We learn by taking action and seeing whether it works or not.”

—Patrick Lencioni, Author of The Five Dysfunctions of a Team

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In the book BOLD – How to Go Big, Create Wealth, and Impact the World, authors Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler point out key strategies to achieve breakthrough results.

It seems that most innovative and pioneering organizations and people use a form of rapid experimentation and iterations to come up with amazing products and services. Those products and services eventually come into our lives just like a delivery from Amazon.

One example is the process Google X (or just “X”) uses to support their prolific product development. Their “Never Fail to Fail” innovation principles use this rapid iteration process to fail frequently, fail fast, and most importantly, fail forward.

EXERCISE:

How can you increase your level of action and experimentation to create far more innovative solutions to better your world?

Pick up a copy of BOLD to examine many other ideas to make a far bigger dent in your own universe.

There is no greater education than one that is self-driven

“There is no greater education than one that is self-driven.”

Neil deGrasse Tyson, American Astrophysicist

Image of a notebook with a checklist

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Elementary school, middle school, high school, and college are what we call traditional education. If you were lucky, perhaps your upbringing included books, encyclopedias, and of course, highly committed parents who emphasized education as a key doorway to a bright future.

For many, once we complete our traditional education, we slow down or even stop our efforts for continuous learning. Somehow that song, “No more teachers, no more books, no more teacher’s dirty looks” was ingrained in us, and we decided we were finished.

EXERCISE:

Consider yourself as your own home-schooling professor, creating the perfect curriculum just for you. The topics you choose are both important and relevant to a fully engaged and happy life. What could this self-driven education include that would result in a PhD in Thee?

The future is something which everyone reaches

“The future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of 60 minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is.”

—C.S. Lewis, 20th Century British author

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Today’s quote has a bit of a passive quality for me. In a recent article, Michael Simmons points out the considerable downside of a passive approach by describing a term he coined “The Five Hour Rule” a few years ago. Through his research of the most successful people in the world he discovered a pattern: They all devoted at least five hours a week to deliberate learning, to ensure long-term success.

His work demonstrates that in maintaining only our current knowledge, about 50% will become outdated within a decade. He points out that each of us will need to learn five hours a week just to stay up-to-date in our current fields, and more if we want to get ahead.

Most of us know that we all forget a significant portion of what we learn, but did you know that facts in many fields of study have a half-life where previous knowledge can no longer be found in scientific citations?

Consider where the fields of artificial intelligence, app development, social media management, driverless cars and cloud computing will be even a few years from now. None of these fields existed 15 years ago.

EXERCISE:

How and in what ways can and will you invest at least five hours each week on intentional learning?

Consider checking out Michael Simmons article by reading “The Math Behind the Five Hour Rule.”

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

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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?

Reading gives us some place to go

“Reading gives us some place to go when we have to stay where we are.”

—Mason Cooley, Late American Aphorist

Image of a man reading at a bus stop

Photo by Laëtitia Buscaylet on Unsplash

My mother, Rose, was the most avid reader I’ve ever known. As a boy, I would frequently go with her to the library where, every three weeks, she would pick a new batch of 12 books. She devoured them every evening after dinner.

I recall her frustration on one occasion, in that she could not find, in our small local library, enough books of interest that she had not already read.

Although she was never a world traveler or college graduate, she took countless trips with her vivid imagination – wherever her written portals to adventure would take her.

EXERCISE:

Consider visiting your local library or bookstore to pick up a book that will take you on a great adventure, from the comfort of your favorite chair.

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.