Every Dog’s Gotta Learn New Tricks

(read in under :04)“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.” ~Henry Ford

Whoever said you can’t teach an old dog new tricks should come with me Thursday. I’ll be attending a conference on the use of technology in marketing. It will be a day of being both blown away and humbled. Blown away by the incredible ways we are using technology to connect, learn, create an image and form relationships, all at the speed of light. Humbled, because I won’t master it before the next new thing replaces it. Few will!

Start with old dogs

By 7:00 am I’ll be in a classroom with other “seasoned citizens” at a seminar about starting a business after the age of 50. I blew past fifty a long time ago but this is right up my alley. For the last several weeks I’ve been devouring a class on cultivating an entrepreneurial mindset. I fully intend to become accredited to teach it this summer. What’s the reason? Because entrepreneurs see problems as opportunities and there’s never been a time with greater potential for self-employment.

Why’s that? Today, we have lots of problems in the changing landscape of business which opens more possibilities than we can count. What’s more, working for yourself is one of the surest paths to pursuing a passion or doing something you love. Gone are the days when we can trust a big company to take care of us. Today, more than ever, the “norm of reciprocity” is no longer the norm.

In order to stay relevant, we must commit to being life-long learners.

“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.” ~Alvin Toffler

Learning from young dogs

The youngest working generation has never lived without technology.  They’re completely comfortable with all the newest developments.  They can explain how things work in a natural, easy way that makes us feel much more confident. They utilize every tool invented to stay connected at all times and seem to have a genuine concern for others which is amazingly refreshing.

Best-selling author Jon Gordon encourages us to “Think Like a Rookie”, to maintain an attitude of positive expectancy and possibility.  Rookies aren’t tainted by rejection, negative assumptions and past experiences that can blind us to opportunities that fresh eyes often see.  Sometimes we need to leap again and remember the way it felt because in that leap, we often discovered we could fly.  Yes, young people keep us young and have much to share.

“The older I grow, the more I distrust the familiar doctrine that age brings wisdom.” ~ H.L. Mencken

What’s so doggone hard about it?

Maybe it’s overly simplistic but I’m surprised at all the fuss about the “multi-generational” workplace. Throughout history, families and communities have been living with a healthy mix of young and old. Both have wisdom to share. Let’s not forget how valuable that is.

I’m lucky to work with college students and to have close friends younger than my children. Their input helps prevent a deadly disease of our later years, “hardening of the attitudes” and helps silence the deadly refrain, “we’ve always done it that way.”  They’re all about trying new things and unafraid of failing, a fear that can be crippling.

My brightest young friends recognize there’s great wisdom found in listening to the voices of experience and maturity.  It benefits them to know there really is a long view. Things usually do work out and even the worst crisis eventually ends. We can honestly assure them our greatest insights often come just beyond what appeared to be a complete disaster.

Older folks can also pass along the value of the human element.  No connection can take the place of a warm handshake, a comforting touch, real eye contact or an encouraging word spoken at the right time.  Thank goodness for each other, we grow stronger and wiser by our sharing. Old dogs, young dogs.  Let’s never forget we were created to learn from each other.

 “No one has ever completed their apprenticeship.” ~Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe



  • Gail

    Created to learn from one another .. love that! And yes, working for yourself is challenging, exciting and rewarding!

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