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The Will To Learn IS The Way



Being ignorant is not so much a shame, as being unwilling to learn.
Benjamin Franklin


Burnt iron has a very distinct smell. In a foundry, the burnt iron leaves black dirt so thick it has to be shoveled.

I can smell that burnt iron today as if he was standing right in front of me. I can see the white circles around his eyes when he removed his glasses and the permanent ring around his hair from his hard hat. Dad was home from work.


Albert Schmidt was a foundry-man. Even though he was a manager, he spent much of his career working long hours in black dirt with 2000-plus degree liquid metal. Dad was the best at what he did. Years after his retirement, and still to this day, the phone rings occasionally with a question from the foundry.

Ill never forget one year when we were on our annual cross-country trip from Detroit to Saskatchewan in our 1971 Ford Galaxy. Dad had a waste problem at the foundry. He was determined to solve it. He hired a young man who had just started a career in speaking to help train his staff. Dad wanted to change the culture of his plant from one of it cant be done to one of lets find a way. During the long trip Dad listened to tapes from this young speaker . . . over and over. The man had a funny accent and told funny stories.


At that young age, I had no concept of what dad was doing. Today, though, I see that dad had a learning mindset. Harvard research suggests that only 10 percent of people have a learning mindset. A person with a learning mindset is defined as one who will seek out new knowledge and learning on his/her own. Sadly 90 percent of people today will not seek out new knowledge unless it's a requirement of their job.

If you have any doubts that a learning mindset is necessary to stay competitive, a quick fact check should clear that up. According to Workopolis 2013 research, here are 10 jobs that wont exist 10 years from now:


1. Social Media Expert
2. Taxi Dispatcher
3. Toll Booth Operator
4. Retail Cashier
5. Word Processor/Typist
6. Switchboard Operator
7. Photo finisher
8. Librarian
9. Video Store Clerk
10. Newspaper delivery person


And Forbes magazine reminds us that these jobs didnt exist 10 years ago:

1. Social Media/On-line Manager
2. Elder Care Services Coordinator
3. Sustainability Manager
4. Educational/Admissions Consultant
5. Search Engine Optimization Specialist
6. Medical Billing/Coder
7. User Experience Manager


"Obsolete" is an ugly word. Webster's Dictionary says that obsolescence is: the state of being which occurs when an object, service, or practice is no longer wanted even though it may still be in good working order.


Will you let your skills become obsolete? Or will you adopt a learning mindset and invest in your future?


Here are four things you can do to invest in your career:

1. Read books
2. Subscribe to Ted Talks on YouTube
3. Attend seminars or webinars
4. Take a class


What you do is not nearly as important as your commitment to always be learning. Im not suggesting you do a one-time data-dump. "Knowledge bites" are what Chris Lytle and I call them for our clients actionable information we provide each week that can improve sales immediately. Learning is a process, not an event.


Ive always wanted to know more; to dig deeper. My professional career is focused on the mission of thinking big and making big things happen. I can trace those beliefs back to that long car ride when my dad introduced me to his new friend, Zig Ziglar. Dad credits Zig Ziglar and his training for helping him improve his plants operation reducing waste by 87 percent. The investment in learning is cheap compared to the cost of ignorance.


Chris Lytle and I are conducting a webinar series sponsored by Radio Ink. Its called the Radio Sales Success Expander. Our mission is to provide you with actionable information to help you grow in your career. Please click HERE and read more about it, and if you think it can help you, sign up.


2014 can be the year you grow and develop . . . or it can take you one step closer to obsolescence. The choice is yours.

Think Big, Make Big Things Happen!


Jeff Schmidt is EVP and Partner with Chris Lytle at Sparque, Inc. You can reach Jeff at,,
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(5/19/2014 2:08:41 PM)
cD3GBh <a href="">loefypmnizdu</a>, [url=]yptmtiwxyljr[/url], [link=]wtgkqbbrzskq[/link],

(1/22/2014 3:34:38 AM)
Jeff I remeber that car ride and the learning we all did through lengthy discussion.Thanks for remembering. We grow by planting that little seed, keep it going

- AL Schmidt

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