I attended the Global Leadership Summit last week. I sometimes forget how important it is to break-away and think very intentionally about your leadership and what you can do to be better. It was a good two days and learning an improving.
One of the sessions was with John Maxwell. John Maxwell has been around for a long time teaching us about leadership. In this session he mentioned that one piece of advice that he received that really helped him was that if he wanted to become strong in an area, he should focus on studying it for an hour every day for 5 years. John said that he put this into practice, and that is how he started his journey into leadership. Because he gave it an hour every day for 5 years.
I did the math, and an hour a day for 5 years is 1825 hours. (365days x 5years.) This means that if you learn for an hour a day on a topic for 5 years, after five years you will have spent the equivalent of almost a full-time year of work on learning. This is pretty impressive. I am also sure that if you were learning for an hour a day, your other activities and focuses would also start to gravitate towards the same topic. There would be a natural gravitation towards the subject that you are studying.
There are two keys to being successful in learning in the way that John Maxwell suggests:
- Discipline. You have to commit to learning about the topic for an hour every day. And you have to be willing to do it for a very, very, long period of time (5 years is an eternity. Think about where you were 5 years ago, and where you are today.)
- Focus. You have to commit to learning about one topic for 5 years. This isn’t about watching various youtube videos and Ted Talks that suit your flavour-of-the-day. This is about spending dedicated time on one subject each and every day.
John’s advice is good. But I’m not going to say that it is easy. I would love the benefit of 1825 hours of study on one topic, but I don’t know if I have the discipline or the focus. I want to study business, and become very effective at it. If I want that I will have to put in the time. Will I be able to do it? I guess it will just depend on how badly I want it. My actions in the next 5 years will describe my commitment to what I say that I want.