Dear Dan: How Do You Keep Learning

Dear Dan,

Just curious – what are some things you do to keep learning? … How do you keep yourself continually looking for inspiration?



Thanks for your question, Katie.

Learning is rare because it’s uncomfortable. It often requires unlearning.

Learners prefer rigorous transformation to comfortable confirmation.

The number one source of learning is openness to others. When I say ‘others’, I include ‘different’ others. You like your friends because they likely think like you think.

You learn from those who think differently from you.

Listen for new ideas.  

  1. What idea surprises you?
  2. What ideas make you uncomfortable?
  3. What thoughts seem to contradict your current opinions?

Rather than quickly rejecting or refuting a surprising idea, explore it. Ask questions.

I learn by putting new ideas into practice. I have a very low tolerance for bloviating. I’m always looking for the main point and practical application.

Staying open is a challenge when you plan to put a new idea into practice.

Learn FOR others. I have a client that’s working on recruiting top talent. This makes me more alert and ready to learn about recruiting talent.

Trying to solve a problem is motivation to learn. A new problem is a reminder to stay open.

Teaching is a way to learn. The teacher learns more than the student.

I use audible when I travel. I also peruse many pre-publication manuscripts and newly published books. It’s one of the perks of writing Leadership Freak.

The book Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman continues to show me that I don’t know as much as I think I know.

Reading comments on this blog is helpful to my learning.

The pursuit of better is motivation to learn. I believe there’s always a better way so I’m not content with the last way something was done.

What might leaders do to continue learning?