I was sitting in one of my college classes when my professor said something in passing that was so profound I’ve never forgotten it. He said, “I would rather my students drink from a running stream than a stagnant pool.” I later learned he was quoting Dr. Howard Hendricks, words that resonated strongly—so strongly that they influence me to this day.
Are you still learning and growing as a person? If you want to be constantly and consistently inspired, and have the ability to inspire others, you must be taking in far more than you give out. Not only that, you must be constantly refreshing what you know so that you don’t become stale and stagnant.
Here are some ways you can be sure you’re a running stream and not a stagnant pool:
- Become a voracious reader. You don’t need to be reading books necessarily, but make sure you’re taking in as much new information as you can each day. High-quality blogs are a viable option.
- Get to know people. Want fresh ideas? Well, ideas come from people, so it stands to reason that the more people you meet, the more ideas you’ll hear.
- Challenge yourself. If your life is too easy, you run a great risk of growing stagnant. Push your old, worn out ideas out by stepping beyond your boundaries.
- Think like a teacher. One of the best ways to learn something new is to be required to teach it to someone else. This forces you to internalize and distil new information quickly.
- Take a break. It’s always possible you’re pushing too hard. No matter who you are, you can only work so long and contain so much. Make sure you’re taking regular time off from work and responsibilities.
“Learning is the only thing the mind never exhausts, never fears, and never regrets.”
~Leonardo da Vinci