When I was 15 years old, I was having a whinge to a student counsellor about our history teacher’s approach. For a full lesson he would write down a stream of notes from his memory as fast as he could, pausing only to erase the lot and start again once the black board was full. It became a game to us, attempting to get the notes down before they were rubbed out. It was not exactly an inspiring teaching method!
The counsellor, who was a teacher, mentor and subsequent close friend, Ken Hovelmeier, looked thoughtful for a while and then offered me the following two pieces of advice:
“What do you take out of this as a learning lesson? It’s important to always be learning, even if it’s only learning about yourself!” and, “What responsibility do YOU take? There are two types of people out there — those who take responsibility and those who blame and make excuses. I hope that you fit into the first category!”
I’ve never forgotten this advice. These are lessons which have been confirmed and reinforced hundreds of times. Firstly, it has taught me that we always need to strive to keep learning. It also taught me the importance of knowing yourself — your strengths and your weaknesses — and using this information to improve and be the best you can be. Most importantly it has taught me to take responsibility for my actions and my learning.
In my view these are the three most fundamental life lessons any entrepreneur should learn and act on.
“It’s important to always be learning, even if it’s only learning about yourself.”