Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Why is Batman Important?

“Happy is he who still loves something he loved in the nursery;  He has not been broken in two by time; he is not two men, but one, and he has saved not only his soul but his life.” – G.K. Chesterton

A Child's Wish Comes True

This past week on the news there was a story about a young leukemia patient who had his wish granted to become Batman.  San Francisco transformed part of itself into Gotham City all the way down to the criminals that only Batman could catch.  It seemed like the entire city participated to make this young boy's wish come true or came out to watch the young Batman save the city.  There were two black Lamborghinis decked out with Batman decals to make them look like the Bat Mobile, there was the Riddler, the Penguin and even a damsel in distress.  The young boy became the superhero Batkid.

It Will Make You Smile

As I watched the news report unfold I noticed how much fun everyone was having and wondered was granting this wish for the young Batkid or more for those granting the wish.  Then it hit me, it was for both.  When you do things for others it makes you feel good inside.  It was obvious by the smiles of the participants they were having fun.  Then I thought if they can do this in order to grant the wish of a young boy why can't we do this other times rather than resorting to constant bickering and divide that seems to have our country in a strangle hold?  I think we can but the problem seems to be that many of us are afraid to be childlike and would rather be childish.  I see the difference as being childlike reflects your honest willingness to let your emotions show bad or good where as being childish reflects selfish inconsiderate behavior. 

The organizers and participants were able to grant this wish because they allowed themselves to become childlike enabling them to recapture a part of their childhood.  Their willingness to be childlike once again allowed them to pretend and bring to life a superhero.  Everyone needs a superhero.  This granted wish was as much about those who enabled it to happen as it was about the young boy becoming Batkid. 

Why is Batkid Important?

The story confirms that:
  • We feel good when we act childlike; role playing and pretending in superheroes.
  • It feels good when we do things for others expecting nothing in return.
  • When we release ourselves from our hang ups we have fun, we enjoy life and achieve big things.
Taking this a step further – what if we didn't take ourselves so serious in business.  How could being more childlike in business help?
  • It will help you commit to learning new things, trying new things, talking to strangers, question everything, take more risk and do things that make you feel uncomfortable.
  • It will encourage your curiosity which might be all it takes for a big break through.
  • It will help you laugh more and to take yourself less seriously.
  • It will help you make new friends.  You should be friends with your customers and clients.
  • Most importantly, being childlike allows you to have fun.  Many of us spend most of our lives at the grind of a job forgetting to have fun or what fun is even all about.

When I was a youngster I loved riding my bike anywhere and everywhere with no destination in mind. Today I’m going to fire up my Road King and head down the road with no destination in mind.  I might even find a curvy road along the beach to ride.   What’s keeping you from being more childlike?

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Continue To Learn New Things

Give a man a fish and he will eat for the day, teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime.
Chinese Proverb

Why Continue To Learn
Why one should continue educating oneself is a perplexing proposition for most but not for me.  I have most everything I have ever wanted but yet I find it very compelling to continue educating myself.  In my thirty six years of professional life I have done things and have been places most people just dream about.  I have accomplished everything I have set out to do as life goals but never feel like I am done learning.  I have three reasons why I continue to educate myself.  First, being a highly competitive individual I find it necessary to stay ahead of the competition which is made possible by continuing to learn new things.  Second, education has always been a lifelong endeavor of mine that I enjoy doing.  Third, I find it desirable to learn new things that take me down new paths that are far removed from my current path.  Learning new things provokes thought.  Thought provokes new ideas.  New ideas bring new perspective.  A new perspective can be all that is needed for a big break through.    Learning can provide that needed change of direction for your big break through. 

Coming Full Circle
Often, I contemplate what the future will bring; will it be good fortune, overwhelming despair, great happiness or great sadness.  As a child and teenager I never really thought about the future rather each day was lived to its fullest.  As a young adult through my early forties I often worried about the future facing the many challenges of raising a family and the frustrations of the business world.  Now in my fifties I feel I have come full circle.  No longer do I worry about the future rather, once again I take one day at a time.  In many respects I feel like a teenager again.  I explore new things, take new paths and seek new direction just for the fun of it.

Growing up my parents made it extremely clear that without certain abilities and personal characteristic qualities it would be hard once I entered the real world.  My father to this day tells me that being able to read and think critically is the core for everything else you want to do in life which I find to be absolutely true.  My mother would tell me to not just do something, be the best you can be at that something.  To me, demonstrating competence in a chosen field means much more than just completing the check list.  It means being the best that you can be –giving 100% of yourself to your field is much better than just being a part time player.  I learned from my grandfather that learning does not have to be in school.  He taught me that the world is your school.  There are times when you take classes other times when you learn by your experiences.  I have learned to never discount my ability to learn something new when traveling, meeting new people or experiencing a new adventure.

In the Business World
In my professional life my lifelong endeavor of learning is core to everything I do.  When interviewing candidates for open positions my education and experience enable me to make sound decisions and good choices based on facts.  In the business world one does not excel without the tools of critical thinking or effective communication skills.  In most businesses collaboration is fundamental to success.  Today, in order to be competitive in the world market a company must be made up of individuals who are educated, creative, who can think critically and communicate effectively.  Sharing talents and resources with the ability to draw information from various sources and fields is the essence of collaboration.  Students of today must master these qualities if they are to be successful in the world after receiving their degree.  In business, these are key qualities that set the individual apart from the rest.  A business made up of individuals with these qualities puts that business ahead of the competition. 

Lifelong Endeavor
Learning is a lifelong endeavor.  Success is achieved when the student realizes that learning does not stop upon graduation nor does learning have to take place only in a classroom.  Life experiences present many learning opportunities.  It is our responsibility to take the opportunity to learn.  Each person you meet in life has something they can teach you, each experience, and each cycle of change you have an opportunity to learn.  With an open mind and armed with an education that enables one’s ability to think critically and communicate effectively, there is no reason to fail at realizing success.  Education and life experiences will set you apart from the rest providing a unique and distinct advantage.  Through critical thinking and an ability to communicate effectively you gain an advantage of being able to see and understand the big picture in ways that others may not. 

Many times I have been asked if I could do it all over again what would I change.  My response every time is I would change nothing.  If I did, it would not be the life I have come to know and understand.  In many ways life has been good to me.  I am blessed with a wonderful family that is full of love; I have great children and a wonderful wife.  My experiences have made me who and what I am.  When I started writing this my intent was to share important experiences in my life regarding the need for continuing to learn new things; to provide insight to why  learning new things is important.  In closing, my intent is to share my secret for life.  Live life to love life taking one day at a time, understanding that life is what you make it so live life to its fullest always seeking out new things to learn.