Always Be Learning


If you’re a fan of Glengarry Glen Ross – you know all about the ABCs: Always Be Closing. And as we run our boutique agency in downtown Toronto, I’m not going to lie and say this mantra doesn’t sometimes creep into my head. However, my partner Ron and I have been working really hard to avoid succumbing to the age old challenge of working in our business vs working on our business. So we’ve begun a new mantra: Always Be Learning.

We learn in lots of ways – like most people do. By talking to people, by going to events and conferences, by joining business groups and good ol’ fashioned networking. It’s easy to “learn”. All you have to be is open-minded. And to really intake the learning from what you glean from exposure to new people, new forums and new ideas is when you practice those learnings.

Ten thousand hours is the magic number of greatness.
– Malcolm Gladwell, Outliers (2008)

This made me think of another way I like to learn: by reading. And as I am waiting for my copy of “Talking to Strangers” by Malcolm Gladwell to be delivered it made me think of one of my favourite takeaways from his book “Outliers”. The 10,000 hours rule. And if you don’t know it – it’s really quite simple. To become successful at something yes you need an innate talent, drive or interest but what’s most important is that you practice it. All too often I come across people in business who, either by virtue of their perceived genius or their earned tenure, simply think that because they have so much talent, skill or experience that they no longer have anything more to learn.

And I think that’s sad. Because the second you think you know everything (or know enough) that’s when you stop learning. You stop learning from the young. You stop learning from the seasoned and wise. You stop learning from your family. Your friends. Your pets (yes, I said pets… stay tuned for the blog I will write about what my dog has taught me – much to Ron’s chagrin). I truly believe you can and should learn from everything. But the only way to instill a learning is to practice it, refine it and practice it again.

I look forward to learning everyday. And I hope to surround myself with all kinds of people who understand the power of learning.