When we look at innovations, the new things that come into our life, it is simply a new idea or process that was spawned by all the ideas and processes that preceded the innovation. Every innovation, invention, was the blending of personal experience and the experience of previous generations. When we understand that education is the foundation of all innovation, we have the greatest potential for success.
Birds flew long before man got into the airplane. We had to ask and understand how birds could fly. We developed wings, put them on man and machine and they didn’t work. We had to understand differential air pressure and flow over a surface. Ultimately we had to learn the processes of lift and propulsion. After all that, the Wright brothers combined all that information and designed the wing that could lift the airplane off the ground. The invention of the airplane was the summary of many individuals’ successes and failures. Those who learned from their own and others’ experiences eventually moved forward. They were the innovators.
Two ways to Learn:
We learn things in two ways, by our own experiences and the experiences of others.
This is the basis of all education. It is the learning process. Our own experience is limited to what we can learn during our own lifetime. It is limited by time. Learning from other peoples experience comes from the books we read and our association with family, teachers, coaches and mentors. When we learn from other peoples’ experience, we unlock the greatest potential for success.
Our teachers teach the experience of others through books. Our teachers do not develop mathematical principles, but they share the wisdom of the many people who developed and refined them. The true art of the teacher is to be able to pass on this wisdom to the student. When the student can apply what the teacher has taught, the wisdom has reached the next generation.
Fortunately a student does not have to experience war to understand the causes, implications, and tragedies of war. When we study history, we can learn so much and benefit from the experiences of those who lived it. The advances in medicine and technology that we enjoy today were hardly dreams, fifty years ago. Conversely, if we choose to discount or ignore what we can learn from history or from other peoples’ experience, we limit our potential and compromise our chances for success and innovation.
I did it my way:
Sometimes we believe in our own experience, that we know better, and we miss the benefit of other peoples’ knowledge. Over the years I have spent hours on the practice tee practicing my golf swing. My golf swing is based on my perception of the proper swing and the memory of when and if I ever hit a good shot. That is learning from my experience. I have 50 years of my own golf experience. How’s it working so far? Do I really know more than a pro?
But suppose I engaged a golf professional to help me. I could add his expertise to my personal experience. I’ve been there. The golf pro looked at my swing. Smiled. Then made a few suggestions. I could see it in his eyes. He wondered how I ever hit the ball and more importantly, how I could predict where I should begin to look for the ball when I hit it. Until I made the commitment to add his wisdom and expertise to my personal experience, there was little that he could do.
I spend a lot of time in the tall grass and in the woods. But think of it this way. There are more golfers who try to improve their game based on their own experience rather than from the experts. Because they rely on their own expertise, I find a lot of golf balls in the tall grass and woods while looking for my own ball. There really is a positive.
Know your strength and then grow your strength.
What is your talent or skill?
Everyone has something that they feel they do well. In a job interview, how would you answer the questions?
1. What do you consider you best talent?
2. What is your strength?
3. How can you help my company?
Hopefully you carry the answers around with you all the time. Your strengths are your strengths. They are personal. They are not what other people prescribe for you or what they think about you. The important thing is to identify your skill set. We cannot be skillful at everything, but the skills that we have are the foundation for success.
Your strengths can change. You can develop new talents. You have to be willing to be bad at something before you can be good at it. Your talents are developed. They become strengths through practice, repetition and refinement.
Measure your strengths by your goals, by what you want to achieve. It does not have to be compared to others but simply something that you do well. When you find something that you do well, you can improve that skill by practice and by coaching.
There will always be someone who can do what you can do just a little bit better. You can only be better at the moment of competition. The players change over time and new players with more and current practice raises the level of competition. Compare the winter Olympic competition fifty years ago with the events and skill levels of the athletes today.
Your personal assets
Your talents, skills, strengths are your personal assets. If you owned a gold mine, you would work to mine the gold. The gold mine would be your asset. The gold would be the foundation for your future. You wouldn’t think twice about doing some mining each day for find some gold. Your strengths are like the gold nuggets. You have to willing to work each day to mine your strengths. When we recognize that our strengths will be the foundation for our future, finding them, refining them and polishing them will be our daily routine.
Education is the Foundation for Innovation.
It all begins with our willingness to learn and grow. Just as you can’t make a plant grow, no one can make us grow. We put a plant in an environment that will promote growth. We must put ourselves in an environment that will facilitate our growth. Note that the operative word is ‘we’. We are responsible for our ability to grow. Our teachers can’t make us learn but they can create an environment to facilitate the process.
Make each day, a day in your gold mine. Learn something new. Mine some gold. And when it is your turn show the next generation how to mine gold, you will be able to tell them where to dig. You be able to tell them how they can grow their way to success.
A Pattern for Success:
1. Personal experience and the wisdom of others is the basis for the best decision.
2. Find your strengths. Refine your strengths. Grow your strengths.
3. Education is the foundation for your success. Learning is a personal decision.
Read: Chapter 5, Growth is a Decision, Grandpa And Andy, by Dr Richard B Liposky at www.grandpaandandy.com
It’s not where you grow up…it’s where you end up that counts. It sounds simple but understanding and embracing something that simple can change lives. Our future will be determined by our response to our environment better known as our circumstances. We enjoy rags to riches stories because they prove that success can come to anyone who works for it. Success comes to anyone willing to learn and grow.
Who’s in control?
We have choices. If we accept that we are a product of our circumstances, then we will be like a leaf floating on a pond. We will go where the current takes us. When our circumstances over whelm us, liked a soaked leave, we will simply sink to the bottom of the pond. But, if we believe that we can respond to and change our circumstances, we will determine where life’s current will take us.
You don’t under stand my circumstances.
“But you don’t understand my circumstances.” We hear that a lot these days and I simply ask, “What are you doing to change?” It stops people in their tracks.
I may not understand your circumstances but we can probably find someone with similar circumstances who changed, worked and grew through them. It’s not so much the how they changed, it is why and what motivated them to change.
You can’t change where you grow up…but you determine where you end up. Don’t get caught under your circumstances. You can’t change the past. The past represents everything that you have learned up until today. The past can’t be changed but the past determined where you are today. What you have learned to this day and what you learn today and tomorrow will determine where you will be tomorrow and in the future.
Who has my keys?
That means that you own the keys to your future. Success or failure will be determined by your willingness to grow and change. Growth requires energy but change requires an attitude…a vision of what is to come. Even the perfect flower must go through growth and change. We see it as a bud, a blossom, a beautiful flower and then the seeds for future flowers. Some flowers take longer to blossom and produce seeds but the process is the same. Patience. Persistence.
The attitude for change
Our desire for change comes from what we have learned to this day about our past and what we might achieve in the future. Our decision to change will be based on our belief that we can direct changes for our future. It’s the Attitude for success. Education is the foundation for any success whether it involves the family, our person, our business or our profession. If we do not embrace education as the foundation for change, we cannot change.
You can’t change where you grow up…but you determine where you end up.
What ever is holding you back, your circumstances, can be changed. It starts with a decision.
Do I need to change?
Two things are important:
- We must recognize that education is mandatory for success.
- We must be willing to commit to the education process. Become a student.
- Are you happy where you are?
- Are you willing to change in order to have change? To grow?
- Are you willing to make the ultimate commitment to change?
- I’m happy but willing to change. I learn from everything I do. You see what you are doing as the foundation for future endeavors…and great success. Greatest potential.
- I’m unhappy, willing to change and willing to commit to my future.
You will achieve your dreams. Unlimited success.
- I’m unhappy, willing to change but I’m too busy right now. There is too much stuff going on in my life. Reasons and excuses will dominate the conversation.
- I’m unhappy, but I’m not willing to make any changes. Quit complaining and get ‘happy’!
How do I change?
For change to be beneficial, it must accomplish a goal. So the first order of business is to set your goal. Where do you want to be in five years? What specifically do you want to change and when? Change for the sake of change is fruitless. It’s like exchanging one fat food for another fat food and expecting to loose weight. You have altered your diet (change) with no chance of loosing weight (goal).
You can do it but you can’t do it alone. Surround yourself with an educational support system. That means books, coaches, mentors and people who will embrace your vision of your success. Initially your support system may be found in books and education material. You may have to help the people around you see and understand your vision.
Truly successful people are always willing to help others to become successful. That is the common trait of successful people. They surround them selves with successful people, become successful and then reach out to help others. Reach out to successful people, and then listen and learn. You can do it!
It not how long it takes to reach your goals, it’s that you don’t quit on the journey. It begins with a decision. You can’t change where you grow up … but you determine where you end up. You can do it!
Read: Chapter 12, Circles of Influence, Grandpa And Andy, by Dr Richard B Liposky at www.grandpaandandy.com
In the next article, let’s explore the four elements that affect change: Books, People, Time, and Attitude.
Dr R B Liposky
There is an old saying that most businesses fail because of lack of knowledge or lack of capital. Capital can be hard to find and easy to lose. Knowledge is easy to find and hard to lose. Knowledge is abundant and available, and once you have it, you can’t loose it. Capital is worthless if not use properly. Knowledge, on the other hand, can be used over and over, even after the capital has been lost. It’s called learning from our failures or from our mistakes.
Knowledge is the critical ingredient for successfully executing a business plan. The learning process involves three phases: Creative Analytical Execution. Each phase requires an investment of time and patience in order to maximize benefits. It is interesting that when we look at a business that is in trouble, the cause and the solution to its problems will be found in one of these three areas. Like planning a trip…decide where you want to go, learn how to get there, and then go. And people who get lost on vacation either didn’t know where they were going, didn’t get directions or didn’t listen to their GPS. They think they know.
Grandpa’s wisdom says ‘when you think that you know, you probably don’t and when you think that you know everything, you don’t.’ The entrepreneur is the innovator and almost by definition likes to do things his way. Because it is his idea, he thinks he knows. But what he really knows is the creative phase. He will often discount the analytical and execution phases. “I know it will work.” “Everyone will buy it.” “We’ll make millions.”
Successful entrepreneurs have learned to surround themselves with talent that can help them implement their idea. The entrepreneur is the creative thinker, but effective use of analytical or critical talent will facilitate the development of a successfully executable business plan. Once the Creative and Analytical phases are complete, then there is a business plan and the entrepreneur needs to bring in business talent to execute his plan. This is the Execution phase.
Statistically, most of the money made from inventions have been made by the businessmen, the implementer and not by the inventor. This is not a bad thing. It just shows that the person with the knowledge has the advantage. So where does the innovator, the entrepreneur, the man or women with the great idea get the knowledge to turn that idea into a dream come true? The information is all around us. There are books, courses, and people available to help. All that we have to do is have patience and willingness to invest the time to learn.
Successful people know that they don’t know and surround themselves with successful people who know and then they listen. Unsuccessful people surround themselves with people who might know and then they talk. We have two ears and one mouth for a reason. Two ears because we have a lot to learn and only one mouth because, when we use it, it interferes with what the ears are trying to do.
In the book, “It’s Not What I Know…It’s How I Learned It” the author talks about his board of directors. His board was made up of people whom he was familiar with how they think and how they made decisions in their lives. Some were biblical and historical figures, some were successful businessmen and women, and some were family members. He said that when he was in the process of making tough decisions, he would simply ask, “What would dad do?” “What would Reagan do?” “What would Jesus do?” He would tap the brains of his board of directors.
How many people do you have on your board? You are the chairman of your board. When you look around your boardroom table, who do you have looking back at you? It could be Mom and Dad, a favorite uncle, grandpa, president Lincoln, Winston Churchill, the pope. It could be the hero of a book that you read or your favorite author. The more people on your board, the more knowledge you have to help you make good decisions. It takes time fill the seats around your table. That is the investment that you make to be the man with the knowledge.
If businesses fail because of lack of capital or lack of knowledge, then conversely, businesses will succeed when there is adequate capital and sufficient brainpower and it is used properly. When the entrepreneur shows that he has the knowledge to implement his idea, a business plan to follow, and the intellectual resources to execute his business plan, then the capital will appear.
The most successful businessmen have many failures but they just don’t quit. They turn every failure into a learning experience. They have a little more knowledge than the man who failed and then quit. The man with the knowledge is the man with the advantage. Have patience. Make learning a habit. Turn failures into an advantage.