If you want to learn anything in life, you’ve got to keep your eyes open.
We just got finished with Halloween as I write this. The holiday is marked by gruesome costumes, scary stories, and overindulging in sugary snacks. When you expect something bad to happen, you are on your guard. Every corner could be hiding a mugger. That alley you just passed could have a marauding band waiting to pounce on you and leave you for dead. The cops might be out to get you so you better keep your nose clean.
The seventh block in the Pyramid of Success is alertness.
When you’re alert, you see the world more clearly.
Alertness requires three things to be effective.
1. Alertness requires honesty. You’ve heard that the camera doesn’t lie. If a beauty has a flaw, the lens reveals it. If the subject blinks her eyes, it’s recorded. If the scene is out of focus, you’ll need to adjust your focus on the next shot.
Digital cameras are pretty forgiving. If you waste memory on a bad shot, just erase the image and do it over. It won’t change a bad attitude on the part of the photographer or the subject. But if you can clearly identify what the problem is, you can see the solution and implement it.
2. Alertness requires objectivity. Journalists say they’re objective. They’re not. Papers have editors. Editors have agendas. If their agenda is the truth, then they’re really objective.
You have to face the truth if you want to grow and learn. Defeat brings shame. Shame blinds you to honesty. When you take away the shame you feel, the scales fall off your eyes. It’s like getting a new pair of glasses. You’re then able to see the world in a whole new way and it is wonderful.
Then you learn what you missed with your old glasses.
3. Alertness requires action. You can’t be passive and be alert. You can’t be dead and do anything. You’ve got to pay attention to what you’re doing, what’s going on around you, and what you think about it. This is the raw data you’ll use to learn and improve.
If you’re a leader, being alert means you’re able to develop others, manage your workload, and make timely course adjustments.
If you want to grow, stay alert. It will make all the difference in your ongoing education.