Are You a Lifelong Learner?


Are you teachable or do you have it all figured out? The answer to this question could have a direct impact on your success and the success of your company. When you study the lives of effective leaders, there is a common thread of a thirst for learning. These leaders are continually seeking out new ideas, gaining feedback, and exploring innovative ways of tackling challenges.

Hall of Fame basketball coach John Wooden said, “It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts,” and “If I am through learning, I am through.” Similarly, McDonald’s founder Ray Kroc stated, “As long as you’re green, you’re growing. As soon as you’re ripe, you start to rot.” These quotes by leaders from sports and business illustrate the value and belief in learning as a lifelong endeavor. From the modern study of neuroscience, we know that the brain is hardwired to resist change. Further, most of us are only open to feedback if it is positive. However, true learners push through to embrace change and find kernels of truth even from their harshest critics.

J.L. Holloway is one of Mississippi’s most successful entrepreneurs and a committed lifelong learner. At age 38, Holloway founded HAM Marine and through growth and acquisitions grew the business, later called Freide Goldman, to be a publicly traded company with a market capitalization of $2 billion and over 12,000 employees worldwide. BusinessWeek in a cover article named Freide Goldman the “Best Managed Company in America.” In 2002 after almost twenty years building the business, Holloway stepped aside and founded Tenax, LLC, a private equity investment group, which invests and operates a diverse portfolio of businesses. His commitment to excellence has led to him being named the Governor’s Citizen of the Year and to the Mississippi Business Hall of Fame.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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