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It's Easier to Keep Up Than Catch Up!

By Dr. Alan Zimmerman

Over the years, I've learned there are indisputable laws of nature ... such as the laws of gravity and motion. If you step off a building, you're going to go down, no matter how good your attitude is. And if you get moving, you'll probably keep on moving.

But I've also learned there's a set of unquestionable laws of success. If you know them, if you follow them, you're going to do just fine. In fact, those laws form the basis of my two-day program, the "Journey to the Extraordinary." Today I'll address three of the success laws.

1. The Law of Continual Education
It's a simple fact. If your competitors keep on learning and you don't, guess who has the upper hand when the two of you meet? It won't be you. And despite this simple fact, most people are intellectually lazy and surprisingly sedentary in their acquisition of new knowledge and information. They naively think they already know it all ... or at least enough to get by. If you fall into that category, I have a word of advice for you: "If you think you know it all, you probably know less than you think."

Other folks will boastfully exclaim they "don't need no book learnin'" or any of those "motivational seminars." After all, they tell me they prefer to learn through experience.

Oh, you can learn from experience all right, but the tuition cost is awfully high. As baseball player Vernon Law put it, "Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards." Personally, I subscribe to Dr. Beatrice Berry's advice. She says, "It's more important to know well than to be well known." So I read dozens of books and newsletters every year, listen to hundreds of educational and motivational CDs as I travel, and attend at least 10 days of training every year. It has worked wonders in my life.

So I urge you to take advantage of every training opportunity you get. And when you're about to attend a training program, make sure you get the most out of it by doing some of the following:

  • Prepare yourself ahead of time.
    List at least five specific questions you want answered at the program.

  • Use break time to network.
    Talk to your peers. Find out what have been the most important things they've learned in the seminar. And make lunch and dinner plans with as many different people as you can.

  • Exchange business cards.
    When you receive a card, put a note on the card that says something distinctive about the person who gave it to you.

  • Collect handouts from all the speakers.
    That even includes the sessions you couldn't attend. You're bound to pick up a nugget or two that you would have never learned otherwise.

  • Read your notes.
    Review them on your way home, and prepare a summary of what you experienced and what you learned.

  • Back at work, conduct a mini-seminar.
    Tell your coworkers what you learned.

  • Keep in touch with the speakers.
    Write to them ... asking any additional questions you might have. And ask where you can get more information if you need it.

Once you've got the Law of Continual Education working for you, you need to follow ...

2. The Law of Intentional Application
In other words, it's not good enough to keep on learning. You have to have every intention of applying what you learned. After all, there's nothing more pathetic than a knowledgeable, educated person, sitting on his butt, refusing to use the knowledge he has gained.

If you're going to take that approach, you might as well skip the learning. As spiritual business consultant Swami Sukhabodhananda puts it, "To know is the first step towards transformation. To know and not act on what we know is equal to not knowing."

You need to get excited about the things you learn. After all, "Knowledge is power, but enthusiasm pulls the switch." according to Ivern Ball. And when you get excited about the things you learn, when you plan on using your learnings, you close what author H. Jackson Brown, Jr. calls "the biggest gap in the world." As Jackson says, "The biggest gap in the world is between 'I should' and 'I did.'"

When you're pursuing the Law of Continual Education, when you have the Law of Intentional Application working for you, then you need to use ...

3. The Law of Action
You've heard people say that "knowledge is power." But I beg to differ. Knowledge isn't power, but the application of knowledge is.

Goethe talked about that hundreds of years ago. He said, "Knowledge is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do." And the Law of Action says you HAVE TO DO SOMETHING with what you learned.

Consultant Chris Clarke Epstein affirms that when she says, "Expertise is not about what you know but what you do with what you know." She's right. So I recommend three ways you can apply the Law of Action to your life...

  • Just do it ... if you know it's the right thing to do.
    Don't wait for the perfect set of conditions before you do something. "Perfect" never happens or ever comes. Too many great ideas fall by the wayside because people wait for "perfect."

  • Just do it ... no matter how old you are.
    No age or time of life, no position or circumstance, has a monopoly on success. Any age is the right age to start doing!

  • Just do it ... without getting stuck in the past or future.
    As famed psychologist Abraham Maslow discovered, "I can feel guilty about the past, apprehensive about the future, but only in the present can I act. The ability to be in the present moment is a major component of mental wellness."

As I continue to speak around the world, as I lecture on the laws of success, I keep on telling people, "Do not confuse activity with accomplishment." Follow the Law of Continual Education, adopt the Law of Intentional Application, and use the Law of Action, and you'll be okay.

What are 3 things you have learned in the past month? And what are your plans for doing something with those learnings?

Best-selling author and Hall of Fame professional speaker, Dr. Alan Zimmerman has transformed more than a million people into better managers and leaders in the office and in the marketplace. For even more tips on how to build relationships with employees and customers that last a lifetime go to and get his free e-book that's filled with his most popular articles.
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