“Yes. Yes, I have learned. I am never going to stop.”
-Marie Cosgrove, certified John Maxwell Team coach, speaker, and teacher
I’m incredibly blessed to have been raised by my grandparents. It was my grandfather who gave me the best advice I still follow today. He would say, “You need to exercise your mind, just as much as you exercise your body. The more you exercise, the stronger your muscles become. It’s the same way with the brain; you need to feed it, use it, and keep it engaged. Always keep learning and using your brain because it is a muscle. Learning is something you just keep doing, whether you are a baby, or 100 years old, you will never ‘know it all.'”
I recall the day my grandfather retired and sold his barbershop. The very same day he retired, he enrolled at the local college to keep his mind active and engaged for the same reason he walked to work every day: to keep fit.
My grandfather’s barbershop is also the place where I developed my love of reading and learning. I would spend afternoons reading his comic-book collection and National Geographic. Every boy who got a haircut would receive a free comic. I always made sure I had read my grandfather’s new comic book collections before they were given away. National Geographic gave me an opportunity to “travel” the world. As a child, we did not do any traveling outside of the cities in our large state of Texas, where I grew up. National Geographic gave me a glimpse into an entirely different world and an opportunity to learn about different animals, nature, and cultures.
I was reminded of my grandfather’s words when I read a story about a time when one of the greatest artists of all time, Michelangelo, was asked to provide a talk on art at the age of 87. His reply was, “ancora imparo,” which means “I’m still learning.” Michelangelo had a teachable spirit; true humility.
As a 47-year-old, soon approaching 50, with four adult children, three grandchildren, and a little one still at home, I still continue my path in learning with over 10,000 coaches worldwide as part of John Maxwell Team. Valuable lessons I have learned from John Maxwell that will also help you on your path to learning are:
- Humility – Having a teachable spirit in learning. Remaining humble is necessary to develop a sincere heart and a desire for learning.
- Responsibility – For taking the first step in learning. Be prepared to take action when presented with new learning opportunities, thus, assume responsibility for your own growth and success.
- Defeat – Is the greatest motivator for learning. For example, Benjamin Franklin’s parents could not afford to keep him in school. By the age of 10, he had to leave school due to a lack of funds. Despite what seemed like a defeat in Benjamin Franklin’s love of learning, in which the opportunities appeared to slip away from his hands, he persevered, and he taught himself to read, became an inventor, and a founding father of our beautiful nation.
- Difficulties – Are opportunities for learning. For example, looking back at my life, one of the greatest challenges I faced was to be let go from a job at a time when I was the sole financial supporter of my household with four small children at home. This situation forced me to learn new skill sets and opportunities in a different field.
- Maturity – Values learning. A mature person recognizes the need to seek wisdom, and they appreciate learning opportunities, whereas an immature person believes they are intellectually superior, placing little value on continued education that could lead to advancement, growth, and success, essentially capping their full potential.
One of my favorite books John Maxwell has authored is Sometimes you Win, Sometimes You Learn. In this book, John Maxwell provides numerous examples of people who struggled through challenges and used the above five lessons in learning to succeed when they faced difficulties, loss, or defeat.
As you examine where you are in the five levels of learning, why not take “ancora imparo” as your motto? Dedicate yourself to nurture learning opportunities that may come your way, including difficulties and defeats that will catapult you to new learning breakthroughs.
Marie Cosgrove is an accomplished entrepreneur who has had the privilege of working with some of the most recognizable Fortune 500 companies, including FedEx and Sprint. Marie serves as CEO of Vestibular, Research and Development, LLC d/b/a balanceback, considered the world’s leader in treating and diagnosing balance disorders, concussions, and traumatic brain injuries.
She has successfully launched several Medical Device Companies and serves as part of The John Maxwell Team’s President Advisory Council, and as an independent speaker, mentor and teacher.
Marie has a passion working with young women and is founder of The Virtue Project, a nonprofit teaching young girls personal and professional development skills, then allowing them to use those skills in real work situations, getting paid minimum wage, plus profit sharing. After graduation, the young girls may use those funds to bootstrap themselves into their own business or to continue their education.
Marie is married, has 5 children, 3 grandchildren, and a golden doodle. She enjoys most outdoor activities (camping, hiking, swimming, beaches, lakes, sledding, etc.).