where do you learn?

beautiful shies“A school is wherever a man can learn, Mr. Shafter, do not forget that. A man can learn from these mountains and the trees, he can learn by listening, by seeing, and by hearing the talk of other men and thinking about what they say.”

– L’Amour, Angelique (2010-12-01). A Trail of Memories: The Quotations Of Louis L’Amour (Kindle Locations 728-730). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

quotes on learning from Louis L’Amour

Louis L’Amour was and is one of my favorite authors. He was a man with a love for learning and it permeated all of his books. Following are a few of his quotes on learning that I particularly like. As you read his comments, maybe you can take time to reflect on your own attitude towards learning. Do you have a hunger for learning? Does the complexity and beauty of God’s creation cause you amazement and wonder?

“A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner, so if one’s life is cold and bare he can blame none but himself. You have a chance to select from some pretty elegant furnishings.

… I seek when I can the company of others who learn, for who knows when my knowledge combined with theirs might prove the answer? Each man learns a little, but the sum of their knowledge can be great. 

Sometimes I wonder if anything is ever ended. The words a man speaks today live on in his thoughts or the memories of others, and the shot fired, the blow struck, the thing done today is like a stone tossed into a pool and the ripples keep widening out until they touch lives far from ours.”

L’Amour, Angelique (2010-12-01). A Trail of Memories: The Quotations Of Louis L’Amour. Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

are you present?

Good morning to you! Beautiful fall weather up here in NE Indiana.

Growing up, Louis L’Amour was one of my favorite authors. In his stories ran the consistent themes of honor, courage, hard work, integrity, loyalty, perseverance, and a high view of marriage. In looking through the book A Trail Of Memories, a compilation of some of his quotes by his daughter Angelique L’Amour, I came across the following quote from his book Bendigo Shafter:

Few of us ever live in the present, we are forever anticipating what is to come or remembering what has gone . . .

That really struck a chord with me – I am so often contemplating the future or analyzing the past, that I miss out living in the present. I too often am not in the present and miss so many moments with family and friends. I remember when my daughter, Keely, was small, she would tell me she wanted me with her. I would tell her I was sitting right next to her, but she would say “you’re not really with me!”. She was very discerning at a young age. She knew instinctively that while I was physically present, I wasn’t mentally and emotionally present. My attention was somewhere else.

As I have journeyed along, learning bit by bit to actually live, I am noticing more and more people who are not present. They are not really with the people they are talking to, they don’t see the beauty of God’s creation as they move hurriedly from one thing to another, they are not giving full attention to their children, and they are hurrying past others who are hurting.

Yes, it is good to learn from history. Yes, it is good to think about the future and to plan. just don’t stay in either place so long that you miss out on life.

Be present.

Peace and grace to you on this Thursday,

How Not To Be A Fool

“You can learn something from anyone, even a fool, even if the only thing you learn is how not to be a fool.”Louis L’Amour.  Now I am not sure if that quote is exact, but it is how I remember it. Growing up, the western and historical novels by Mr. L’Amour taught me much about our country and its people, about courage and sacrifice, plus much more. Some of his quotes have really stuck with me such as the one above, especially the ones having to do with leadership.

A key question for you – Are you teachable?  We all know about the dizzying rate of change that is just a fact of life now. We know that as leaders we are to be learners, but that is more difficult than it first appears.

Sometimes things are moving so fast, that if an area of our life / work seems to be ok, we don’t want to make any changes.  Sometimes we don’t have time (at least we think this) to stop and learn something new.  And there are people that in our minds we believe don’t have anything to teach us.  This last situation is usually rooted in pride for often the very people we need to be listening to are in the most obscure “boxes” low down on the org. chart. Often times these are the people closest to a situation and are the very ones who have the best input, but we don’t listen to them to our detriment.

So, be teachable.  Be willing to seek out the advice and counsel of people, no matter what their title or position.  To not do so limits us as leaders.

Learn something new today from someone you normally don’t ask advice of – you might be surprised by what you learn.