Always Be Open To Learning

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"We should not only use all the brains we have, but all we can borrow." -Woodrow Wilson

Leave it to a child to remind you of the importance of humility and the willingness to learn from everyone.

One day, my daughter Alexandra was home sick from school. Since she was home, I took her with me when I went to run some errands. That morning, I was working on a piece of business marketing literature. So I took it with me to review at lunch and pencil in a few changes.

While we were standing in line to get our lunch, Alexandra noticed the paper I was holding and asked to look at it. I thought, "Sure, what does it hurt to make her happy and let her take a look?" I handed her the marketing piece and asked her what she thought. Honestly, I just wanted to satisfy her request. I did not expect to learn from her perspective.

What followed was amazing. I watched as my eight (almost 9) year old daughter carefully and thoughtfully reviewed what I had developed. She then offered two or three very insightful and helpful comments on what she got from the brochure. To be honest, it never occurred to me to seek input on this piece from my child. I very nearly made a huge mistake.

As we grow in both knowledge and skills, it is easy to discount or ignore input from people that we perceive as less skilled or knowledgeable than we are. Whose input do we discount? Maybe it is our children, our spouse, our employees, people with less formal education, and . . . the list goes on and on. Is it possible that they see something we don't see? Despite what we think sets us apart from them, could we learn from their perspective and experience?

Virtually every successful person I know or know of says that their willingness to continue learning was critical to their success.

So for now, I encourage you to remember this simple tip... Always be open to learning.

Copyright 2005, Guy Harris

You may use this article for electronic distribution if you will include all contact information with live links back to the author. Notification of use is not required, but I would appreciate it. Please contact the author prior to use in printed media.

Guy Harris is the Chief Relationship Officer with Principle Driven Consulting. He helps entrepreneurs, business managers, and other organizational leaders build trust, reduce conflict, and improve team performance. Learn more at

Guy co-authored "The Behavior Bucks System TM" to help parents reduce stress and conflict. Learn more about this book at

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