What Was The Last Thing You Learned

Posted by Alan Danielson Tuesday, August 18, 2015 7:50:00 AM Categories: Leadership

by Mark Howell

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What was the last thing you learned? I remember hearing in seminary that you could tell by the copyright dates on the shelves of your library when you quit learning. I don’t know whether that’s completely accurate, but I do know this…once you quit learning, you might as well throw in the towel.

Leaders are insatiable learners. In perhaps “the most quietly influential speeches in the history of American business,” John W. Gardner proclaimed, “Be interested. Everyone wants to be interesting, but the vitalizing thing is to be interested…As the proverb says, ‘It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.’”

What was the last thing you learned? Or the most recent thing you learned?

In the last year we learned that you can exponentially increase the number of new hosts by simply tweaking the HOST ask to say, “If you have a couple friends you’d like to do the study with…you can do it and we want to help you.”

“If you have a couple friends.” Think about it. Everyone has a couple friends. What if it is truly that simple?

Need to fan your inner insatiable learner into flame?  Let me suggest three things you should do immediately:

1) Become a reader. This is not complicated. If you’re not reading, you’re not likely to be adding enough inputs to keep your thinking fresh. This morning I ordered three books that caught my eye and ended up on my Amazon wishlist: The Wright Brothers by David McCullough, Louder than Words by Todd Henry, and How We Got to Now by Steven Johnson. What are you reading?

2) Listen to podcasts. If you’re not taking advantage of a variety of podcasts…you’re missing a huge opportunity. I listen to an eclectic list of podcasts every week. Some of my favorites include The Andy Stanley Leadership Podcast, The Accidental Creative, Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast, Freakonomics Radio, Radiolab from WNWC, and the TED Radio Hour. What are you listening to?

3) Connect regularly with a network. This is a really big thing. If you’re not cultivating a group of peers as well as cross-pollinating with experts from other fields…you’re missing the main chance. The easiest way to find a group of peers is to locate a huddle on the Small Group Network. Cross-pollinating takes only slightly more effort. As you meet experts from other fields, simply be curious. Invite them for coffee or lunch. Ask questions. Be on the lookout for the faint glimpses of what Steven Johnson referred to as the adjacent possible.

You can do it!

What was the last thing you learned?

Mark Howell serves as Pastor of Communities at Canyon Ridge Christian Church in Las Vegas, NV, and as LifeWay's Small Group Specialist. He founded SmallGroupResources.net, offering consulting and coaching services to help churches across North America launch, build and sustain healthy small group ministries. He spent four years on the consulting staff at Lifetogether and often contributes to ministry periodicals such as the Pastor's Ministry Toolbox and ChurchCentral.com. Visit Mark Howell at www.MarkHowellLive.com/about/