The other day I was going through a bin of books and came across “Life’s Little Instruction Book,” by H. Jackson Brown, Jr. It was a gift given to me by a colleague I worked with several years ago. On the inside cover, she wrote, “Tim not that you need this! I thought you could use this to instruct others.” I had forgotten that I had this book and finding it the other day I read through it and came to this lesson, “commit yourself to constant self-improvement.” Such a simple statement and idea, but for many, it’s a hard thing to do. Too many of us have commitment phobia.
Alan Weiss says, “If you improve one percent a day in seventy days you’ll be twice as good.” Another nice way of saying that if you want to get better, you must commit yourself to making it happen. I remember a time I was showing a colleague a book I recently purchased. As she was reviewing it she was looking at the back of the book and noticed the price, she looked at me and asked, “You paid full price for this book?” I told her yes, she immediately criticized me for such folly, stating she would have bought it used or gone to the library anything but pay full price. When I told her, it’s a small price to pay and I’m willing to do so because I see it as an investment in myself and her approach was a penny wise and pound foolish could explain why she walked away in a huff.
The book I bought was on a topic I wanted to become more knowledgeable and informed on, so the purchase was a logical thing for me to do. It was my commitment to myself for constant self-improvement. Yes, I could have gone to the library and borrowed the book, but then I wouldn’t be able to make notes on sections that I found interesting, I wouldn’t be able to reference it later for my article writing. It was a small investment that I have benefited from numerous times.
I believe if more employees made some level of self-investment they would find they would be twice as good as Alan Weiss stated. There is something more casual when you have some “skin” in the game. When you have invested your own money, you’re more likely to take what you’re doing much more seriously. This is not to say that employers should invest in their employee’s training, but when employees take it upon themselves to go out and pay for training materials or even a training course, management will notice. It demonstrates a commitment on the part of the employee wanting self-improvement. It also shows that H. Jackson Brown, Jr. was right, it was a little improvement but with a big pay off.
© Timothy A. Wilson 2018