Garbage In, Garbage Out

It’s the end of a long day. You started the day early in order to meet a deadline and you ended the day late to meet that same deadline. The good news is that you reached your goal. The bad news is that traffic on the way home was miserable. When you arrive home you can’t wait to sit on the couch and just be a vegetable. Some mindless entertainment sounds perfect.

Now it is Friday evening and it has been one tough week. You had planned to attend a seminar Saturday morning, but now you think it would feel better to sleep late. This particular seminar is supposed to be really rewarding, but also really intense. You just feel too brain dead for a challenging learning experience.

And so it goes. Work is tough, life is demanding, it is so much easier to come home and unwind in front of the television or with a video game. You have become a classic case of:

“Learn as much as you can while you are young, since life becomes too busy later. “ – Unknown

But there are people around you with schedules just as difficult (if not more difficult) and they seem to have plenty of time and energy for personal and professional development. And they reap the benefits from investing in their personal and professional development too. What are they doing differently? What do they know that you don’t?

The people who work hard and invest in their continued growth do not possess special knowledge and energy that allow them to commit to their growth; they possess special knowledge and energy BECAUSE they have committed themselves to continued growth through learning. These are the people who are consistently feeding their minds health food instead of junk food. You know, feed your mind some healthy vegetables, and do not allow your mind to become a vegetable.

When you learn that a co-worker who is never overweight frequents the gym, are you surprised? No. You might even ask them how they do it. How do they manage to work full time, have family and friends and maintain a work out schedule? They are able to do this because they have made their exercise routine a priority. They are disciplined. Sure, sometimes they skip the gym. But most of the time they do not. It is the same thing with working your brain. You need to make it a priority. It’s not that you should never play a video game or watch cartoons. It is all about balance and discipline. It is not always easy. At the end of a long day, it is easy to reach for some mindless entertainment. But once you get used to exercising your mind, you will look forward to something a bit more substantial. It will become second nature to you to seek learning opportunities. And you will be that interesting person, the person who is well informed and has unique perspectives and whose company is sought by others.

Remember, garbage in, garbage out.