I have always maintained a slight sense of internal pride regarding my attitude toward learning from others. Generally, over the course of my life, I have operated under the assumption that people whom are (a) significantly older than me, (b) experts in their field, or (c) more experienced than me should be given the benefit of the doubt that they know what they are doing. A logical consequence of this thinking is that I should attempt to learn from the way these individuals practice their chosen discipline.

Looking back over the various periods of failure, success and mediocrity in my life, I have come to realize that some of my most interesting accomplishments have come when I, at least temporarily, have backhanded this logic across the jaw ignored the best advice of my mentors. Of course, after a brief knockdown, the logic stands to its feet again and continues its influence.

The important thing to remember here is that these temporary interjections of rebellion are surrounded by longer periods of learning and quiet observation. The opportunity to break away from the established practices of mentors and do something (potentially) great is most ripe when you have gleaned from them much of what they have to offer.
A few months ago on a flight back to CLE from LAS, I was observing the land formations, the dry stream beds, the jutting of the rock in the desert, the occasional human intervention in the form of a farm stead or small town. I thought, 'these patterns are a part of me; I understand the natural way that things form.' I remember telling my wife about it at the time.

I continued the strain of thought to further articulate something I've always known, but do not acknowledge much (or enough), and something which forcibly rears its head into my consciousness from time to time:

There are strong analogs in the behavior of almost everything that exists. Nature behaves the way human economies do; traffic behaves the way water flows; social structures mimic various biological patterns; etc. There are nearly infinite examples.

I am a simple but happy person, and have been blessed with a wonderful life thus far. However, if there's one thing I can say that I'm honestly a bit disappointed about, it's that I've not even begun to effectively exploit this intuitive understanding.
The business world is to a noticeable degree self-reinforcing and has a tendency to be incestuous. On one hand, this can be a positive thing: profitable relationships are strengthened. However, it can also be dangerous. Paths become well worn which benefit individuals but act to the detriment of the sector, or the economy, as a whole. You scratch my back, I scratch yours. We fight each other, but we do not wish to conclusively win, because winning would mean and end to the war, and to our earnings, and thus we must ensure that the environment continues to foster the conflict.
As I read William Manchester’s A World Lit Only By Fire, two background thoughts continue to cycle through my mind:
  1. I am thankful, ever so thankful, not to have lived at any time in human history prior to now; and
  2. Those medieval and renaissance characters sure were a bunch of a**-holes...