“All learning is state dependent.”

“All learning is state dependent.”

—Jim Kwik, Author of Limitless

Image from Unsplash by Matthew T. Rader

Over the past months, many of us have become increasingly aware of our biases, whether conscious or unconscious. We have learned, through countless examples in our personal and professional worlds, which doors to open, and which to keep closed.

How often do you close the door on others, or worse yet, never open them to peek at what’s inside? To what degree do you live in a state of judgement and protection of the status quo?

What past lessons have been ingrained and habitualized?

EXERCISE:

Where would a state of greater openness, curiosity, and acceptance of other ways of thinking and acting create new learning and opportunities for a fuller and better life?

“Put old wine into new bottles.”

“Put old wine into new bottles.”

—Author Unknown

Image from Unsplash by Markus Spiske

I have always had a passion for learning. I guess that may be why my first career out of college was as a science teacher. Learning how the world worked was a place to explore with endless possibilities.

For me, learning for the sake of learning only took me so far. Over the years, I began to notice how attracted I had become to the actual practical application of this learning.

In the midst of COVID, I have had a lot of time to read and explore what I like to call The Wisdom of the Ages, along with many new books and resources from today’s great writers, thinkers, and leaders.

A common practice in many current books is the use of provocative quotes and engaging stories. They often include many references and expansive indexes that bolster their current insights and messages.

Perhaps there is very little truly unique and original thinking these days. Maybe what the best and brightest of us do is simply put old wine into new bottles.

EXERCISE:

Where and how can you, too, use the knowledge and wisdom you have acquired over the years to navigate your current challenges and opportunities?

Consider exploring my book, The Quotable Coach – Daily Nuggets of Practical Wisdom – with its 365 quotes, coaching commentaries and exercises as a tool to support this effort.

Thank You!

“You cannot teach a crab to walk straight.”

“You cannot teach a crab to walk straight.”

—Aristophanes, classic Athenian poet and playwright

Image from Unsplash by Chandler Cruttenden

Picture a crab scurrying across a beach, searching for food or a mate, or avoiding a predator.

With claws and legs of different sizes and functions, getting to their destination in a straight line is not the point for this creature—being a successful crustacean living from one day to the next is.

Perhaps our changing world has altered our own way of getting around. Many direct routes to our objectives are not open or have significant detours, causing us to adapt and adjust our course.

What can we learn from the crab? Perhaps if we took more lefts, rights, and zig-zags, would we not only survive, but thrive as we headed into the future?

EXERCISE:

Where in your personal or professional world is taking the straight path not working?

Where might a less direct path lead you to where you wish to be?

“I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship.”

“I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship.”

—Louisa May Alcott, 19th Century American author of Little Women

Image from Unsplash by Bobby Burch

If you enjoy good stories with wonderful characters, please go see the movie Little Women, or by all means, read the book.

In our daily lives we can all be coached by the times we see others face and overcome their challenges and obstacles. Doing so can instill the belief that we, too, can do the same.

EXERCISE:

Where in your personal or professional life are you facing considerably rough waters?

In what ways can and will you face these challenges boldly and courageously to chart your course toward a brighter future?

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

“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 Theodor Seuss Geisel

Image from youtube

I am a big fan of Dr. Seuss. I love the idea of imparting wisdom through his unique and colorful characters and stories. Today’s quote is from I Can Read With My Eyes Shut. A few more of my favorite Suess-ful nuggets of wisdom are:

“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”

“You have brains in your head, you have feet in your shoes, you can steer yourself any direction you choose.”

“Today was good, today was fun, tomorrow will be another one.”

“Just tell yourself, Duckie – You’re really quite lucky!”

EXERCISE:

Select a book you have yet to read and commit to reading it in the new year. Consider making this a monthly goad to help you learn more and take you to more places you wish to go.

“I am learning all the time. The tombstone will be my diploma.”

“I am learning all the time. The tombstone will be my diploma.”

—Eartha Kitt, 20th Century American singer, actress, dancer

Image from Barry Demp Coaching

Have you ever done a values clarification exercise? You know – the ones that ask you deep, probing questions such as:

At the end of your life, what would you like people to say about you?

Beyond the usual thoughts of family and making a difference in the lives of others, I would include being a student, a teacher, and of course, a coach, supporting the growth and development of others.

EXERCISE:

How important is the process of learning in your life?

What current and future developmental efforts and contributions will you have shared with others when you move on from this world?

“History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.”

“History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.”

—Maya Angelou, 21st Century American poet, memoirist, and civil rights activist

Image from yadvashem.org

During our visit to Israel, Wendy and I had the profound experience of visiting the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem.

Unrelenting pain and deep sadness cannot fully express this dark period in human history.

This museum and the tragic story and inhumanity it conveys cannot be unlived. It is a brilliant and courageous reminder for all mankind of the importance of a “never again” stance against some global behaviors.

EXERCISE:

What are some of the big and small lessons that are part of your personal and professional history?

In what ways have these experiences provided you the courage to never travel these paths again?

“Curiosity is the wick in the candle of learning.”

“Curiosity is the wick in the candle of learning.”

—William Arthur Ward, 20th Century American Author

Image of a small candle burning

Image from Unsplash by Chirag K

There’s a lot of chemistry and physics behind the beauty and light of a candle flame.

Essentially, all waxes are hydrocarbons that, when heated, become vaporized when the flame melts the wax near the wick.

The wick’s key purpose is to draw up the liquid wax by capillary action, similar to a tree drawing up water and nutrients from its roots to its leaves.

EXERCISE:

What are some ways you can fan the flame of curiosity to take your personal and professional learning efforts to the next level?

“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

Image from NorthTexasKids

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?

I’ve been afraid of people playing their life away with too many toys

“I’ve been afraid of people playing their life away with too many toys.”

—Ray Bradbury, late American author and screenwriter

Image of two toddlers playing with a computer

Image from Unsplash by Jelleke Vanooteghem

Take a trip down Memory Lane and look at the toys you played with as a child. For me, the top three were a used sled for winter, a banana-seat bike for the rest of the year, and of course, a pimple ball for all sorts of games we would invent.

I vividly recall that before the age when I could venture out with friends, my mom would give me a bucket of water and an old paint brush. I would express my artistic talents on the sidewalk before the summer sun erased all traces of my work. It was like an Etch-a-Sketch without the cost!

Fast forward to today and look at the toys you and your children or grandchildren play with. How many are digital? How many can be and are often used alone, instead of with friends or family?

EXERCISE:

Where would taking more of a “The Best Things in Life are not Things” approach help you lead a simpler and more satisfying life?