Learn and Apply (Repeat)

I first started listening to Zig Ziglar’s cassette tapes and reading his books about 30 years ago. Zig motivated and inspired me to reach higher. I was blessed to see him in person four or five times. The last time I saw him was at a Peter Lowe event in Atlanta. He was on stage with his daughter and it was evident that he was failing.

The last book he wrote before he passed away in 2012 he wrote with his son Tom Ziglar and it is entitled Born to Win. If you were blessed to hear Zig speak or read one of his books, more than likely you heard him say that he was a life-long learner. In his final book, he talked about how he became a life-long learner. It still instructs me today.

He said to find ways to learn every day! Find multiple ways of learning. Today, more than ever before, there are so many ways to learn! I can take a class at a university, go to a seminar or workshop, attend a webinar or teleseminar, download an e-book or whitepaper, or read a book or an article. I can learn from a colleague in a mentoring relationship, by shadowing them or simply by asking them questions. I can refine my skills of observation, increase in curiosity, and ask more questions. Zig said to make sure that you learn each day and learn using multiple methods.

He said, however, that we can’t stop there! We mustn’t just learn! Knowledge for knowledge sake is productive. There must be a second step in the process. The second step is to apply what has been learned. Zig’s message to us was learn and then apply what we have learned! The application process is what changes us and our circumstances.

Learning, as I said above, is easier than it ever has been before. The tough part is the application process; putting into practice what we have learned!

So, I make it a daily habit to learn, and I make it a daily habit to apply what I have learned. I schedule time in my day to practice something that I have learned recently. I call it my “lab time.” A laboratory is, according to Dictionary.com, “a place, situation, set of conditions, or the like, conducive to experimentation, investigation, observation, etc.” My “lab time” is 15 minutes I set aside four times a day every day to experiment and practice what I have learned. I experiment and practice before I have to apply in real-life.

So, I will challenge you to find multiple ways of learning daily and to create some lab time to practice applying what you have learned. Then, rinse and repeat.

In the words of Zig…”See You at the Top!”

Mac