My top strength according to StrengthsFinder is Learner.
I knew it.
I love learning. Years ago, there was an orange juice commercial with the tagline, A day without orange juice is like a day without sunshine. That’s how I feel about learning.
Learning something new every day is truly enlightening.
I do not feel obliged to undertake new fields of study every day. Most often, I dive deeper into an area of interest. I have to fight the temptation to go too deep and to stay too long.
Some of the best advice I ever heard came from pastor, professor, and author Calvin Miller. He told a group of college students I was part of to “Read broadly, but not too deeply.”
Read Broadly, But Not Too Deeply
His point was for us to gain the ability to speak intelligently on almost any subject worth discussing without becoming an overbearing know-it-all.
One area where I am currently learning is how to utilize Siri more fully on my iPhone. The recently-released version of iOS makes new tools available. However, I may require a new iPhone XS Max for ultimate productivity.
(Don’t tell our CFO. It’s better that he find out after I have upgraded. After all, it’s easier to get forgiveness than permission.)
One of my LifeCore, my core values, is Prodigious Learner. I use this term loosely. It reminds me of the poster which hung on the back of the entry door to my sixth-grade science class.
Mr. Crook (his real name) placed that poster there for us to see every single day so that its message was deeply drilled into our heads. It read, The more I learn, the more I learn how much I have to learn.
If there is anything prodigious about my learning practices, it is because I know how much I do not know.
Know How Much You Don’t Know
Rick Warren likes to say, We are all ignorant on different subjects.
How true. We see proof of this every day on Facebook and Twitter.
The problem arises when we get comfortable in our ignorance. I am comfortably ignorant about most everything having to do with advanced mathematics. However, I work hard to learn ever-better methods of mastering the art and science of expense reports. In fact, if I continue making significant steps forward, our CFO may not get all that worked up about my cool new iPhone.
Some learning happens accidentally. Like the day I was preparing to pour myself a nice chilled glass of V8 vegetable juice. I gave the container a good shake. It was then when I remembered I had already shaken the container and loosened the lid. Luckily, I had another clean, white shirt hanging in the closet.
Most, and the best, learning occurs by intentionally placing ourselves in position to receive knowledge and wisdom from others. I have a few personal rituals and routines which guide me.
Create Learning Rituals and Routines
My first hour of the day is spent enjoying two cups of coffee, our two dogs, and time alone with God. Each year I read through the Bible using one plan or another. This year it is The One-Year Bible on the YouVersion Bible app. I finish that time by writing a devotional for family and friends using the SOAP acrostic made popular by Wayne Cordeiro in The Divine Mentor: Growing Your Faith as You Sit at the Feet of the Savior.
The S in SOAP stands for Scripture. The idea is to pick out a verse or two which speaks to me. Then I write down my Observations. I follow this with a personal Application which begins with the two words, I will. Then I turn the Bible verse, observation, and application into a Prayer.
I have a thirty-minute commute to work each day. That provides an hour of instruction from podcasts. I listen to Audible books on longer trips.
I had a five-hour road trip recently which allowed me to listen to The Power of Moments by Chip and Dan Heath. I highly recommend it. Up next is How Great Leaders Think: The Art of Reframing by Lee G. Bolman and Terrence E. Deal.
I journal in the morning and evening using the DayOne Journal app. I have separate sets of reflection questions for morning and evening. These help me focus on what matters most in my hours and days.
My morning questions include:
- What am I thankful for right now?
- How am I feeling right now?
- What am I reading at this time?
- What’s right? (Maximize)
- What’s wrong? (Minimize)
- What’s confused? (Clarify)
- What’s missing? (Add)
My evening questions include:
- What did I do today?
- What lessons did I learn?
- What am I thankful for right now?
- How am I feeling right now?
- What will I read tomorrow?
- What are my plans for tomorrow?
- What one thing must I accomplish tomorrow?
You may recognize some of these questions from Michael Hyatt’s writing and the toolkit from The Paterson Center.
Live A Life Worth Living
Socrates said, The unexamined life is not worth living. Daily times of thoughtful, mindful reading and reflection empower us for incremental growth.
This daily disciplined approach to learning and reflecting over weeks, months, years, and decades provides us with well-furnished minds. It makes it possible for us to speak intelligently on most subjects worth discussing. It makes us fruitful and effective at home, at work, and at leisure.
What is your personal growth plan?
What is included in your LifeCore?
Learn more about your LifeCall, LifeCore, LifeSteps, and LifeScore by participating in a Younique 48-Hour Life Plan or a four-day Accelerator. See lifeyounique.com for more details.
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6 Then the LORD spoke to Job out of the storm:
7 “Brace yourself like a man;
I will question you,
and you shall answer me.
8 “Would you discredit my justice?
Would you condemn me to justify yourself?
9 Do you have an arm like God’s,
and can your voice thunder like his?
10 Then adorn yourself with glory and splendor,
and clothe yourself in honor and majesty.
11 Unleash the fury of your wrath,
look at all who are proud and bring them low,
12 look at all who are proud and humble them,
crush the wicked where they stand.
13 Bury them all in the dust together;
shroud their faces in the grave.
14 Then I myself will admit to you
that your own right hand can save you
The New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), Job 40:6–14.
Job 29:21-25 21 “People listened to me expectantly,
waiting in silence for my counsel.
22 After I had spoken, they spoke no more;
my words fell gently on their ears.
23 They waited for me as for showers
and drank in my words as the spring rain.
24 When I smiled at them, they scarcely believed it;
the light of my face was precious to them.
25 I chose the way for them and sat as their chief;
I dwelt as a king among his troops;
I was like one who comforts mourners.