“Someone who knows the state capitals of 17 of 50 states may be proud of her knowledge. But someone who knows 47 may be more likely to think of herself as not knowing 3 capitals.”
-Chip and Dan Heath discussing ‘gap knowledge’
Made to Stick

Twenty-nine years ago I passed my first degree black belt exam. The day I actually received my belt – my instructor tied it on me and told me – “Now, you start learning”.

I was confused at the time, but as usual, he was right. I learned more in my first six months as a black belt, because of the sparring partners I now had, the opportunities that were open to me, and my ability to absorb information at a higher level – than I had in all my previous years of training.

Then in the next six months – my knowledge and ability continued to develop rapidly — I learned more than I’d learned in all of my years of training again. It was like my knowledge level was doubling every six months. The black belt wasn’t the end — it really was the beginning.

I think being a fitness professional is the same. If you’ve been a trainer for five years, and you are still actively learning, attending seminars, reading — you’ll learn more in your sixth year than you’ve learned in your entire career so far. Your ability to filter good information from bad, to interpret research, and to know who to listen to, who’s work to read etc is so vastly improved that you can actually improve exponentially. As long as you are still studying of course 🙂

I’ve read 30 books this year so far, attended six seminars, read countless journal articles and business magazines, listened to audios and watched educational DVD’s. I don’t think I read 15 books the first year I was training people. I maybe didn’t read more than 30 books in my entire college education.

Craig Ballantyne told me that he has spent more money on education this year than he made his first year as a trainer – in fact he’s spent more than most trainers make in a year. I bet he’s learned more this year than he did back then. And I know he’s earned more (tip – that’s not a coincidence).

Keep learning.