There is an old saying that goes, “10 years from now, you’ll be the same person you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read.”
I have adapted this saying into a modern-day version, and it goes like this:
10 years from now, you’ll be the same person you are today except for the people you meet, the books you read…the cable news you watch, the social media posts you read, the YouTube videos you watch, and the blogs you read.
There are two takeaways from this modern-day version of old wisdom.
First, you have to be more careful today with both the print and the electronic items available for your mind to absorb. Technology is great, but your leadership depends on you being very intentional about what you choose to read or to watch.
According to Business Insider, people spend more than 50 minutes a day on Facebook. That’s 350 minutes per week. To put this in perspective, we only spend 120 minutes per week being physically active, according to researchers at Penn State and the University of Maryland.
I’ll be the first to admit that I enjoy the occasional escape into social media. I enjoy seeing what my friends are doing today and social media allows me to keep up with distant relatives. But if you’re not careful, you can spend too much time looking at your smartphone, absorbing information that won’t make you a better person.
If you desire to be a better leader, then consider what will get you closer to being that great leader tonight: watching an hour of television or reading a leadership book for an hour?
The second takeaway from the modern version of this old saying is that despite all of the new modern-day alternatives we have to the “books we read”, the need to have great relationships remains the same.
People are great influencers on our future. Think back over the past ten years about those that have made an impact on you as a leader. Who are the coaches, the teammates, the employees, the friends that have made you who you are today? How has your relationship with your spouse made you a better leader?
We were not made to do life alone. Every one of us has a desire to be with other human beings. And we can accomplish far more with others that we can alone.
A draft horse is a large, muscular animal. Draft horses have been used throughout history to pull very heavy loads. A single draft horse can pull a load up to 8,000 pounds by itself.
If you put two draft horses together, conventional wisdom would lead you to believe that the pair could pull 16,000 pounds. However the reality is that two horses together can pull 24,000 pounds. If you take time to train the horses in tandem, they can actually end up pulling 32,000 pounds. That’s four times the work than they can do alone.
What areas of your life are you trying to do alone? How much more could you accomplish if you worked together with others?
Picture yourself ten years from now. Who are you talking to today and what are you reading (print or electronic) that will make you into the leader you want to be 10 years from now?