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Your Employee Matters

Are You Willing to Learn?

By September 1, 2013No Comments

To those unwilling to learn I do not teach anything.” – Confucius

You could take this quote in two different ways. Literally one could surmise that Confucius simply refused to spend any time even making an effort with non-learners. I think, however, this quote has a less obvious meaning—there are teachers all around us, but only those willing to learn will gain any wisdom from them. One of the greatest frustrations whether you’re a leader, boss, parent, or expert, is to want to help people who really don’t care to be helped or to help teach people who really don’t care to learn. For the person intent on learning and improvement, this type of person is unfathomable. How could they actually think like that? Why don’t they want to be a constant learner? Why don’t they want to know more, so that, in turn they can do more? Don’t they have a sense of achievement or personal accomplishment? Don’t they want to be awesome!?

Napoleon Hill, author of Think and Grow Rich and similar books surmised that only 2% of people are really willing to do what it takes to be highly successful. My own personal experience tells me that the ratio may be closer to 10 to 20%, which still leaves 80 to 90% of people behind.

This Pareto Principle is alive and well in the workplace. There are few natural learners. There are few driven to be highly successful. Most people seek out a life of comfort and stability. What many of these people fail to realize is that only the mediocre are truly ever comfortable. They don’t understand that when you seek out comfort and stagnation you’re ready to die – because, basically, you’ve already done so.

Although the Bible instructs us to be our brother’s keeper, many resent the fact they are asked to do for others what those others won’t do for themselves. I think our best chance is to be the influence in their lives that they don’t have any place else. Perhaps, these people aren’t being motivated at home or by coworkers or by their friends and so on. You can be that shining light in their life. You can turn them on to learning and the fruits of success!