Episode 15: The More You Learn, The More You Earn
Hi there, it’s Andrew here. This is going to be a short podcast, but I’m going to give you some great tools that you can put around your learning and really align with this topic ‘The More You Learn, The More You Earn’.
Before I dive into it, please continue listening to these podcasts and share them around if you’re open and interested to ways to generate more profit on your farm and live a better life. If you’d like to fast-track that, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org, tell us a bit about your farm and we’ll get back to you. We have a couple of mentoring programs where we can help fast-track your success, so just keep that in mind. It’s email@example.com.
This podcast is really about learning. The more we invest into learning, the more you earn, and the better you’ll do in your business. I mean, think about it. An entrepreneur may have spent 50 years studying what they do and achieving a lot of success and then they write a book that you can buy for $30, and you can really tap into their wisdom for $30. I just find that amazing. The more you understand and the more time you spend getting clarity around what it is that you need to know to become a really highly profitable and successful farmer.
I just love the saying of the three stages to life. ‘Learn’ (and if you notice, the L comes before the earn part) so learn, then we move into our ‘Earn’ phase. Then, eventually, I like this, we move into the ‘Return’ phase. We have a mission at Farm Owners Academy to help farmers earn and become really successful and very wealthy, but also helping you get your time back.
Eventually, you will use everything that you’ve learnt to then contribute back to your families, contribute back to your society, back to your local environment. That’s what we get a really big kick out of. It really does start with ‘learn’. We’re going to cover off on three key things today. I’m going to give you a fantastic system that will help you set up a simple system enabling you to focus on what it is that you need to learn and implement from today’s podcast.
The first thing that I wanted to talk about is “you need to be the dumbest person in the room”. In fact, if you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re actually the dumbest. I think there’s such a great saying that “We want to walk around and stop pretending we know everything”. I see so many business owners doing this, that they protect their– It’s like an ego, they protect how much they know. They’re constantly believing that they’ve got all the answers when, in fact, they really don’t.
If they were just to drop what they think they know and embrace an attitude of ‘I know nothing’ then you can become so much more effective in life, that your goal is to be the dumbest person in the room. Most successful leaders do this. If you were to study the top business owners, the top CEOs, the top leaders, they surround themselves with people smarter than them. In fact, if you’re the smartest person within your business, then I think you’ve got a real problem.
You ultimately want to hire people smarter than you. You want to engage mentors and people around you that know more than you. That’s how you will actually grow as a person and have others, if you like, doing the work for you. Clearly, one of those methods is by learning from others through books, and CDs, and courses.
A bit of history for you here. Albert Einstein and Thomas Edison, I’m sure you know the name, Albert Einstein. For those that don’t know Thomas Edison, he invented the lightbulb. I studied these guys, again, just through reading books and watching documentaries because I find them really fascinating. Albert Einstein would say that whenever he came across a new topic, the first thing he would do…and Thomas Edison did the same thing… they’d go to a library and they’d spend a whole week in the library studying that topic.
They would read every single book on the subject before they would even attempt to add anything new or to learn anything new. They call it ‘standing on the shoulders of giants’. They knew that if they could grasp all the teachings that the people prior to them had, it would catapult their chances of success. It really is true that if we can firstly learn from others that have been doing these things for years, then we can learn from their mistakes.
I know when I first started out as a business coach, I was in a position where I really didn’t know anything at all. I made the decision right from those early days that I’m going to study the most successful coaches and learn from them. We should all get this, that there’s so much to be learned from people doing things smarter than us. I can promise you, there’s someone else out there right now doing things significantly smarter than you. If you don’t believe that, then that’s an ego. There’s always someone doing it better or smarter than you. There are people that have cracked better ways to make money. There are people that have cracked better ways to save time and put in better systems.
There’s a great story that I share as well. I laugh at it because it is humorous when I look back on it, but I used to get up many years ago three mornings every week to go exercising with a group of friends. I’d drive halfway across Brisbane to get to my exercise. It would take me about half an hour, this particular trip. After about eight months, one of the guys said, “which route do you take here?” I told him the route I took and he said, “Mate, you need to take this road” he showed me a shortcut. I had no idea, but this little shortcut knocked about seven minutes off my trip both ways.
Fourteen minutes a day, three times a week, it might not sound like much, but when you weigh this up over a year, it’s a lot of time every week. 14 minutes, three times a week is 42 minutes, let’s say an hour every week, multiplied over a year, that’s 52 hours. Just that little shortcut saved me an entire week a year, which in the scheme of things allocated to a higher use of time. Now, it only took this person 10 seconds to tell me the shortcut… You’d agree with me that I’d be totally foolish continuing to take the longer route. From that day forward, I decided to take the shortcut.
We all do this. We are guilty of getting trapped doing stuff that we’ve been doing for years and years. We actually don’t stop and challenge, is the way we’re doing it, the right way? That’s where I believe learning comes in. The point that I’m making here is experience is important. There’s no doubt about it, experience is important. What is more important than experience is the right theory. If we were to take the right theory and apply the experience to the right theory, this is what leads to profound results.
I’ll give you an example outside of farming. I want you to imagine there’s a cafe in the town somewhere near you and they’ve been pouring coffee for 20 years. Now, I’m sure you’d agree with me that they have a lot of experience in pouring coffee, 20 years of experience. What if they were only ever taught how to pour bad coffee. I’m sure you’ve been to a cafe where you bought a coffee, I know I have, and it’s just disgusting. What feedback do we give a cafe that makes bad coffee? We don’t, we just don’t go back there again.
They’ve got 20 years’ experience, but the problem is they’ve got 20 years’ experience of pouring a bad coffee. What we want to do in business is learn the right theory first and then gain experience using the right theory. In fact, we’re far smarter starting the right theory before we apply the experience.
Many farmers learn from their parents and their experience came from their parents… Third and fourth generation farmers are often applying experience from maybe 50-60 years ago which can still work, but I can guarantee you that somewhere along that 50-60 years, someone else has found a better way to do it. Just like someone else has found a better way to pour coffee, someone else has learned there’s better beans, there’s a better machine, there’s a better method that produces a better coffee, a better product.
This is absolutely true because innovation’s happening everywhere. Every single industry is innovating and improving. If you’re not learning the new and improved ways you get left behind. You’re applying experience to old pieces of theory. Which means that the results won’t be anywhere near as successful as what they could be.
Goal number one is we want to be the dumbest person in the room and we want to understand what’s the right piece of theory that I need to learn to apply my experience to? When I apply my experience to the right theory, this is what will produce a profound result. This is why in our Take Control Program we provide the theory of here’s how you plan your time from 10 years all the way back to 90-day planning.
I’ve studied for 15 years on what’s the best method to do this (and I’m sure there’s a better way, by the way, I would hate to say that the way that we teach is the perfect way. I’m sure there’s a better way and I’m very open to learning that.) However, I do know that it’s fine-tune, fine-tune, fine-tune and when you apply experience to the way that you plan your time, in this particular system, it will lead to profound results.
That’s the first point to understand and for you to constantly question, is this the right theory? Is this the right theory? To constantly look at, is there a smarter way that I could be doing this?
This is what segues into point number two. I think all of us need a simple system to learn. We can really learn through three key ways:
- We can learn through reading books;
- We can learn through meeting up with people;
- We can learn through doing courses.
A very simple formula which I want you to consider is the 3-2-1 Formula.
We want to apply this to a 90-day block. I think it’s too broad looking at 12 months, so I like to break everything down into what I’m going to focus on for the next quarter. The system is:
- What 3 books can I read?
- Which 2 people can I catch up with and learn from?
- What is 1 course that I could do?
Just to say that again, three books that I can read, two people that I could learn from, and one course that I could do? Now, I also think it’s important to choose your books, people you are going to catch up with, and courses wisely.
For example, if I’m wanting to work on time management, I want to choose my 3 books on time management. I want to meet with 2 people that I think are really effective with their time management, and I want to do 1 course on time management. If I really need to look at maximising profitability (let’s say I’ve got a weak understanding of financial literacy) then I’ll choose 3 books I could read on the subject (I can guarantee there’s books on everything out there), who are 2 people I could meet and what’s 1 course that I could do?
There are so many places for you to uncover this information but it’s just a great formula to focus on. I just know in my early days of being a business coach it was all about learning for me. I’ve invested over $500,000 in my education. I wouldn’t be able to count how many books I’ve read now, how many courses I’ve been to, and how many people that I’ve made the effort to go and meet. It’s endless and it’s never going to end. It’s not something that I will ever sit back and feel that I’ve done enough because the minute I do that, I shoot myself in the foot because I’m now assuming that I’ve learnt everything.
There is a time and a focus when you move to ‘Earn’, there is a time and a focus when you move to ‘Return’, but I think we want to be on this Kaizen, which is “constant never-ending improvement”. It’s a Japanese word. I’m constantly thinking what else could I be learning this quarter that’s going to help me become, in my case, a better mentor, a better coach, a better business owner, a better husband, a better parent? All of these areas.
In the last 12 months I’ve been putting a huge amount of learning back into health. Therefore, I’ve been reading a lot more books and courses on health and I’ve really enjoyed that because it’s also rolled through to me being more effective with business and a better family member as well.
This segues into point number three, which is another simple formula called 30:10. That means for every 30 minutes of reading I do, I like to summarise in 10 minutes what I just learnt and how can I apply what I just learnt to my life?
There is this saying that ‘implementation is power’. Knowledge is not power, implementation is power. I could read 40 books and apply nothing. That’s really pointless, right? I try to apply 3 things I learn from each book I read.
When I’m reading, I think it’s powerful to underline or highlight key parts. Then I’ll just sit down and document what I learnt from that.
In my early days, my mentor held me accountable for reading a book a week. It sounds like a lot, but it’s what I needed to do because it really speed tracked my knowledge on business. I just read every book you can imagine on business and I really got into the discipline of that 30:10 rule. In fact, 30:10 was a formula that I applied on a daily basis. I just read for 30 minutes a day and then spent 10 minutes implementing. Not every day, but probably four days out of five.
Sometimes I would sit and read for 3-4 hours on a weekend. The key to learning is to schedule it. If you don’t schedule it into your day, you most likely won’t do it. Scheduling really helps build a habit. I don’t read a book every week at the moment, but it would be at least one book a month. I’m in the habit of summarising in my journal what I’ve learnt from that book and how I can apply it.
I think setting up that little system will really help you. I used to have a piece of paper stuck on my desk in front of my computer that said 30:10 and I stuck another one on the door in my bedroom that said 30:10. It just reminded me to invest some energy on a daily basis in learning something and then applying it.
I will finish by saying this, the most successful people that I’ve met on my journey of coaching businesses, both in and outside of farming, have an insatiable knowledge to learn more. They are by far the biggest learners. They study the product. In the case of farming, they read every single book on the topic. They’ll find out all the mentors in that area and they won’t just focus on farming, they’ll read every single book on business that they can get their hands on.
There’s no question that there’s a correlation between the biggest learners and the most profitable, successful people. In the brackets of success, I’m referring to the ones that make the most money and also live the most, I call it wealthy life. It’s not just about the money, they also recognise that they have a mission to become the best person that they can be, which means they also want to be a great husband or wife. They want to be great for their kids, they want to be great at time management, they want to create wealth outside their farm, or whatever it is. It’s not just about money.
I see the correlation between happiness and learning. That’s because they’re tapping the wisdom of others that know stuff that they don’t. It’s that simple. Just remember that none of us know everything. We need to put that ego aside and pretend we know nothing. We want to be the dumbest person in the room. We want to focus on what’s the best piece of theory that I can apply my experience to which will bring me my profound results.
I like the simple 3-2-1 Formula. It’s not much if you think about it. 3 books, catch up with 2 people, do 1 course. When you do learn, please spend a little bit of time afterwards to document it… what did I learn and how can I apply this into improving my business?
Thanks for listening to this. Please share this around if you feel this would value other farmers. As I mentioned earlier, if you want to fast-track your results, we are mentors and coaches. We exist to bring out the best in business owners in the farming space, so reach out. Let’s have a chat and see if we can help you. Just send us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Speak to you soon.
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