Article for Digital Dealer Magazine
Craig Criswell, President – Internet Certified Dealer
Endless Learning – the Key to Anti-aging?
I have owned several businesses and also have years of experience as a teacher, salesman, manager and speaker. It has really hit me lately that never stopping the
learning process, always keeping the mind open to new ideas, keeping that thirst for
discovering something new could be a key to staying young. Well maybe not the anti-
aging as mentioned in the title but truly to keep one young beyond their physical years.
There are numerous studies out now validating this very idea.
Early in my entrepreneurial endeavors, I made a trip to visit my aging grandfather. He had been a craftsman in his younger days and was a true artisan. But now his body
was failing him. As we walked one day we talked about his insatiable thirst for reading.
He had gone from reading regular books to large print books then to audio books because
of failing eyesight. I asked him what kind of books he enjoyed reading. I was thinking
mysteries or maybe biographies but his answer was history! Why history? Just as
quickly he responded that he never ever wanted to stop learning and that you learn from
history. What a lesson I learned from him that day! Even though his body was
deteriorating, he was still a young man in heart, mind and spirit – ever the inquisitive
How often in the automotive world have we become complacent in our knowledge of our business? Do we challenge ourselves by trying to learn more about
that which is unfamiliar to us – like the internet or how an online customer thinks or what
it takes to be at the top of a search engine? We rest upon the old school of thought that
since our current process has successfully worked for all these years, it will continue to
work for the upcoming ones as well. How near-sighted is that and how doomed to failure?
As my grandfather stated, one should never stop learning. Keeping your mind open to options does not mean you have to take every thought and act upon it. But by
spending the time, effort and money to learn, to educate oneself on the new and different
will allow for more intelligent decisions about the direction to take. There is a saying I
really like. After I found after so many people constantly pointing their finger at me
indicating I was always so lucky, this phrase jumped out at me: “chance favors the
prepared mind”. I knew I was always researching new ideas, new ways of doing business,
new methods for attacking everyday issues so that when an opportunity did avail itself, I
was ready. I had done my homework and was ready to pounce on the event. Luck? I
don’t think so.
Think about how this applies to your business. Have you reached a sense of comfort in your position or your business that keeps you from learning? If so, your
business structure, like my grandfather’s body did, will become old and brittle. But
unlike him, you have the ability to inject some anti-aging into your business and
ultimately into your very existence by opening up your mind to learn that which is new
and challenging. Remember, chance favors the prepared mind.
The challenge for you now is to take what you just read to heart. Find an internet topic, an online skill, an area of virtual knowledge unfamiliar to you and do the research
to learn more about it. Expand your mind and keep yourself young.
“A business must spend the time to educate themselves about the internet customer and
not just assume they know everything there is to know about the online world.”