There’s a verse in the book of Romans of the Christian Bible that begins “And be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind…”
This is a succinct introduction to the subject of today’s discussion since this phrase “Be not conformed to this world…” underscores the fact that very few people bother to daily renew their mind by feeding it useful information.
In this post I’m going to discuss how you can go against conformity and come out better for it in the end.
We take it for granted that an ongoing source of fuel must be provided for our body to operate at peak efficiency. This fuel comes from food consumed on a daily basis. Yet, when it comes to our mind, somehow we just assume that the proteins-fats-and-carbohydrates we eat are sufficient to also keep our thoughts and creativity running smoothly!
And while the glucose derived from digestion of body-food is important, for maximum output, the mind requires its own form of daily fuel. It can only thrive and increase its ability when provided with a constant input of new knowledge.
Pity the man who has a favorite restaurant to feed his body, but does not have a favorite author to feed his mind! – Jim Rohn
Today I want to address – head on – this issue of ongoing, life-long learning.
Many of you know I spent the first third of my career as a professor training medical students, residents, and physicians, and the second third creating an international medical association dedicated to professional development. Throughout those experiences, all of us concerned simply accepted the fact that continual learning was a required way of life!
Ask your own doctor; I guarantee he or she maintains continual access to several medical journals for keeping up with the latest research findings. Are you so different?
Yet, even when we diligently remain current in our chosen profession or career, many of us are remiss in developing our total selves though study of the breadth of human knowledge.
I consider myself fortunate to have come to that conclusion quite early in life!
Not long after completing my professional training, I decided to purposely make time for developing other facets of my personhood. I began to study and learn outside my field!
I read biographies, history, and even (back then) classical science fiction by such authors as George Orwell, H.G. Wells, and Isaac Asimov. I indulged my passion for opera, explored the origins of cultures, and even took pride in collecting and learning about antique wood-working tools.
Waste of time you say? What possible use can such knowledge have in anyone’s modern-day business life?
Well, remember that success in business is first about being able to relate to other people!
In the the words of Herb Kelliher (Founder of Southwest Airlines), “…the business of business is people”, and interacting effectively is going to take more than just knowing the technical schematics of your product. Success today requires a huge knowledge base with the ability to discuss a vast array of subjects that draw upon metaphor, historical allegory, and cultural literacy (all topics, BTW, of future blog posts).
In my last post I discussed the importance of exercising our mind to think great thoughts, and encouraged you to know that such abilities are within your reach.
Today I want to expand this by giving you the key for supercharging your efforts at thinking your greatest thoughts. In one simple phrase, that key is to feed the mind with knowledge; knowledge that helps us to understand our place in the greater scheme of humanity.
1. Why Should We Feed the Mind?
The mind is a wonderfully creative entity that has the capacity to draw upon information we’ve stored from the experiences of our life, and to put these together in unique and wondrous ways. But think what could be achieved if we supplemented our own knowledge with that from others throughout the breadth and depth of human history!
Such global knowledge provides a context within which we create the perspective to conduct our daily lives; from the thoughts we think, to the values we hold, to the business we transact. Stored knowledge constitutes the birthplace of our most creative self.
It’s often been said that those unfamiliar with history are doomed to repeat it. And,we might add as a corollary, those who are familiar with history will often use it to their advantage!
Feeding the Mind daily is also required in just the attempt to keep up!
The sum of human knowledge is now considered to be doubling every 13 months, with predictions that soon that interval will be measured in days and even hours! Contrast this to Buckminster Fuller’s original calculation that the first doubling of human knowledge required some 1500 years (until the 16th Century)!
Regardless that at present we cannot attain the full measure of knowledge that exists, we must be sufficiently cognizant to function in today’s fast-paced world. That means dedication to learning every day.
2. How Should We Feed the Mind?
Today I no longer subscribe to medical journals. However, my learning continues with constant input from a steady stream of books, college courses, TED Talks, and selected blogs and podcasts. To me, books are such an important source for Feeding the Mind that I’m preparing a 3-post series on this to be appearing soon on this blog.
The point is that it takes a combination of resources for total mind nutrition. The eminent business philosopher, Jim Rohn, put it well when he said,
The good things in life are placed on the high shelves. To reach them we must stand on every book that we read, every course that we take, every CD or mp3 that we listen to. – Jim Rohn
That is why I have chosen to incorporate “The Great Courses” as an integral part of this teaching blog. This company offers the highest quality of college-level courses in audio and video formats that I have ever found. Only the top 1% of all academic professors are invited to contribute.
These courses range from 12 to 48 x 30-minute lectures which are easily digestible during your daily commute to and from work. Truly, your car can now become a traveling university!
In the interest of full disclosure, readers should know that I maintain an affiliate relationship with this company, meaning that should you purchase from them through the links I provide, I will receive a modest commission. However, that in no way affects your price; other than my ability to guide you to periodically less-expensive sale items. And while I review and vet each course that I recommend, I have in the 13 months since I discovered them purchased and taken only 22 of the more than 500 quality courses they offer.
Look for this ongoing clickable feature in our blog promoted as “Today’s Featured Resource.”
As a second resource, I recommend visiting The Success Store (see banner at the end of this post). I believe they maintain the most comprehensive collection of written, audio, and video works of acknowledged masters of Personal Development, both present and past. Likewise, I maintain an affiliate relationship with them, and am pleased to occasionally refer my readers to important works that can help them significantly.
One item from The Success Store I highly recommend is the monthly magazine, simply titled SUCCESS. This publication was the first of its kind debuting in 1897 created by that venerated authority, Orison Swett Marden. Granted, its orientation today is toward those with an entrepreneurial spirit; however, its relevance remains to all readers who are on the path to self-improvement.
Included in every issue of this publication is a unique feature, a 50 minute CD containing two to three interviews of prominent individuals who speak to the theme of that month’s issue. These introductions and discussions of various topics and reference books generate a constant source of creative ideas for my own blog posts!
To me, this feature alone is worth the price of the yearly subscription!
And lastly, if you’ve been reading (or listening) along with us over these first several posts, I hope you’re also finding NSR Development – The Blog an important resource to Feed the Mind daily.
3. When Should We Feed the Mind?
Finally, we must ask the question, when should we begin to Feed the Mind?
The answer of course is to start immediately on a diet that, over time, will guide you on your path to ultimate potential. The journey of continual learning is lifelong, and like strengthening a muscle, takes repetitive daily exercise.
Feed the Mind daily with healthful, growth-stimulating instruction and you will be amazed at the mental prowess you develop in seeing opportunities, evaluating business concepts, and understanding other people and how they think.
It’s why within this blog you will repeatedly encounter references to such diverse individuals as Aristotle, Steve Jobs, Viktor Frankl, Rene Descartes, Albert Schweitzer, Tony Hsieh, and others, with quotations from a variety of enduring texts like the Magna Carta, the Upanishad Scriptures, Presidential Inaugural Addresses, and the Hebrew and Christian Bibles.
From such breadth of study your mind will clearly be able to grasp the connection between a five-thousand year old struggle in the epic of Gilgamesh and our modern day battle to discover the concept of self. We will understand how concepts of Moral Relevance as applied to the ancient culture of Sparta or to the economy of 18th Century America can lend insight to tolerance in a global business world.
I urge you to begin today to analyze the many facets of who you are. What interests excite you? What areas do you wish to learn about? Is it how to function in a global economy? To explore the history of moral behavior? Or, to learn the fundamentals of public speaking?
Google makes dissemination of knowledge universal. The Great Courses bring knowledge to your laptop or mobile device; and SUCCESS Magazine provides insight to the struggles of present day thought leaders.
So commit with me now to make 2015 your year to develop the habit of Feeding the Mind Daily. Together we’ll explore the many facets that make you truly a person of incredible potential.
And while these thoughts are fresh in your mind, take a moment to visit our Comment Section below and leave a response. Think of it as an accountability mechanism that you’re committing in print… to make 2015 your year to embrace lifelong learning.
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