Our Observations

The Learning Experience

I have something important to tell you.

And, appreciating the irony of the statement, it’s this: “I listen.”

Learning and growing are centered on two key traits: obtaining experience and listening to the advice and experiences of experts in your chosen field.

Whether it’s Warren Buffet reading analysis at his desk in Omaha, B.B. King practicing his guitar at home or Missy Franklin swimming laps for the ninth time in a week, all of us learn more as we practice our craft. I’m reasonably sure--without having actually talked to any of the aforementioned directly--that they would tell you that the work is enhanced by their conversations with others: colleagues, artists, coaches and others who provide insight, unique perspectives and their own experiences to challenge and inspire even elite performers to achieve new levels.

A look at Bill Gates’ 2013 summer reading list demonstrates how even the most successful among us can still learn from others. Based on his own personal success, the demand for his time and expertise could easily fill his calendar for years to come. He creates time, however, to make sure he is listening to others who can inspire him to be a better, and more informed, person.

I’ve had the good fortune in my career to come in contact with national politicians, reporters, pundits and performers. There are those who believe they are the smartest person in the room, and there are those who express an intoxicating curiosity and use interaction as an opportunity to learn.

Personal and professional growth takes shape by taking the best advice you hear and applying it to your life, or sharing that experience and wisdom with others who will benefit.

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