Tag Archives: born or made

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lifelong learning

Lifelong Learning and the Card Punch Myth

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Are you a product of lifelong learning? Many successful people will tell you that you are, or that you should be. Are you going for a new job? Is your card punched?

Card Punch Myth

You’ve probably heard the phrase, “Get your card punched.” It is a catch-all phrase, designed to suggest that without a high school diploma, a two-year, four-year, masters, or doctoral degree you cannot succeed.

Certainly, it is unlikely that many would argue with the high school diploma. As the degrees get bigger and the requirements more intense the population with each degree gets smaller.

There are some occupations that require specific degrees or certifications. Medical doctors are an easy example. In these cases, there is a minimum requirement for entry.

Is your card punched? Does it need to be?

Falsely, many people believe that a degree (or not having one) is what is limiting their success. Yet, everyday someone gets a job without the certificate, without the degree, and without their card punched.

The argument is that, “they knew someone,” or “they got lucky.” Both are potentially true, so perhaps balancing degree pursuit with relationship building is a requirement.

Ask Bill Gates or Michael Dell about the card punch.

Lifelong Learning

Lifelong learning is an important idea. Anyone who wants to be progressive in their career should have the fundamental understanding that continuous and lifelong learning is a requirement.

What does lifelong learning mean? It means you’re continuing to grow. It may be through formal education. Perhaps through a mentor, coach, or professional training. It could also be through reading, video watching, and individualized study that is self-designed.

You can never stop expanding. Most people are not born into a specific career. They make their career. Some of that is based on formal education and some of it on relationships, hard work, and yes, even luck.

If you want change and advancement you’re going to have to learn more.

Evidence of degrees earned appearing on the wall, an acronym following your name, or a professional salutation are great. Keep in mind they represent evidence, not a ticket to the show.

What you can really do is so much more important.


Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+

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born or made

Born or Made, Is This What Defines Your Career?

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It has been a debate for a long time. Are people born with talent, skills, and abilities, or do they work differently, harder, and with enough persistence to attain a higher level. What about your career, is it born or made?

When we see a really old tree, we wonder how it weathered all of those years. The cycle of the seasons, unexpected weather conditions, predators, insects, and even a human with an axe. There is almost a level of respect for its survival. It wasn’t born this way, it was made across time.

It is similar for the athlete. A fit, slender, or muscular shape, a stride or walk that displays confidence, they weren’t born this way. Most people give respect, because they know that it took hours of hard work, a good diet, and the discipline to stick with it.

About Your Career

Some people wonder, is a skill, talent, or simple good fortune born to you, or is it made? Certainly, some families have achieved levels of financial wealth, political positioning, or Hollywood status that jumps starts the career of their offspring. This is true for very few.

For everyone else, the extra effort is required. Everyone has a story of shortcomings, being overlooked, passed over, and unrecognized for what they offer. Additionally, many of the most successful have a story of countless hours and gigantic sacrifices they made along the way.

Of course, we can’t forget the envious, those with the misfortune, diversions, or a lack of money to really make it big. Certainly, these may be real factors that affect the speed, timing, and the ability to sustain. They often become an excuse, valid or not, about why some cannot achieve.

Does this answer the born or made question?

Born or Made

We see both ends of the continuum, but what is the third element? Either side has reasons for their position. Everything else is just in the middle, the mean, an average.

Some will talk about excuses. Others will express a lack of interest, a lack of desire, or unlucky breaks. Still others will proclaim that they weren’t born with it.

If you aren’t making your story better, maybe it is time to turn over a new leaf.

A tree may be born from a seed, how it grows is a different story.


Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+

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