Pity the man who has a favorite restaurant, but not a favorite author. He's picked out a favorite place to feed his body, but he doesn't have a favorite place to feed his mind!
Why would this be? Have you heard about the accelerated learning curve? From birth, up until the time we are about eighteen, our learning curve is dramatic, and our capacity to learn during this period is just staggering. We learn a tremendous amount very fast. We learn language, culture, history, science, mathematics... everything!
For some people, the accelerated learning process will continue on. But for most, it levels off when they get their first job. If there are no more exams to take, if there's no demand to get out paper and pencil, why read any more books? Of course, you will learn some things through experience. Just getting out there – sometimes doing it wrong and sometimes doing it right - you will learn.
Can you imagine what would happen if you kept up an accelerated learning curve all the rest of your life? Can you imagine what you could learn to do, the skills you could develop, the capacities you could have? Here's what I'm asking you to do: be that unusual person who keeps up his learning curve and develops an appetite for always trying to find good ideas.
One way to feed your mind and educate your philosophy is through the writings of influential people. Maybe you can't meet the person, but you can read his or her books. Churchill is gone, but we still have his books. Aristotle is gone, but we still have his ideas. Search libraries for books and programs. Search magazines. Search documentaries. They are full of opportunities for intellectual feasting.
In addition to reading and listening, you also need a chance to do some talking and sharing. I have some people in my life who help me with important life questions, who assist me in refining my own philosophy, weighing my values and pondering questions about success and lifestyle.
We all need association with people of substance to provide influence concerning major issues such as society, money, enterprise, family, government, love, friendship, culture, taste, opportunity, and community. Philosophy is mostly influenced by ideas, ideas are mostly influenced by education, and education is mostly influenced by the people with whom we associate.
One of the great fortunes of my life was to be around Mr. Shoaff those five years. During that time he shared with me at dinner, during airline flights, at business conferences, in private conversations and in groups. He gave me many ideas that enabled me to make small daily adjustments in my philosophy and activities. Those daily changes, some very slight, but very important, soon added up to weighty sums.
A big part of the lesson was having Mr. Shoaff repeat the ideas over and over. You just can't hear the fundamentals of life philosophy too often. They are the greatest form of nutrition, the building blocks for a well-developed mind.
I'm asking that you feed your mind just as you do your body. Feed it with good ideas, wherever they can be found. Always be on the lookout for a good idea - a business idea, a product idea, a service idea, an idea for personal improvement. Every new idea will help to refine your philosophy. Your philosophy will guide your life, and your life will unfold with distinction and pleasure.
To Your Success,
Jim Rohn (excerpted from "Leading an Inspired Life")
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