Continuous Learning

Continuous Learning
February 11, 2017 Gary Shotton

Life long learning or continuous learning is not just a concept, it is a reality for anyone that wants to stay in the lead. #000090

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Continuous Learning

By Gary Shotton

       My name is Gary Shotton, and today we are going to talk about continuous learning.

I think if you are going to be a successful business owner, you are going to be a successful person, and you’re going to make that effort to continue to improve. Improve your learnings by learning things. Thinking outside your box. Thinking in ways that you haven’t thought before and exploring things. Not everything is going to be a success in your life, and most of the time, you are going to learn more from little failures than if you had it go successful.

Just take a girl that is a young cook learning from Mom how to bake a cake. Mom can step in every time and grab the spatula and stir it for the little girl, and Mom can make sure everything is perfect and give every instruction, and the little girl is always looking to Mom and say, “mom, what do I do next?” But a better way, in my opinion, to approach it, is to give some instructions and then just walk away. What’s hurt? What’s the harm? So, what, a cake was horrible. That’s how you learn. So, maintaining an attitude of continual learning is going to be imperative, I think, for your success.

Now, I have always probably been just a little on the perturbed side when I have someone that I think could have dug in and learned something, and they stop because they’re always wanting someone else to teach them. Many things that I have done in life, I had no one to guide me through every step of what I am doing. Certainly, I had help. Certainly, I asked questions, but I had to show the determination to be able to learn. Learn and be an aggressive learner.

Back when I was a young man on my first job working for the oil company, I made a horrible failure in learning how to buy feeder cattle. Now, I was a young man back in my real young age. My dad had invested some of our money, my brothers and I, in what was called the Shotton Cattle Project. We owned cattle, but dad did all the negotiation. He bought the cattle. He sold the cattle. He made sure the feed was paid for. I was just in by name.

So, I am off on my first job away from home, and I am thinking, “I know all about this,” and I didn’t. I contact somebody locally, and said, “I want to start buying some cattle, because I am in the cattle business.” Now, I had my day job. This is something that can be done in the evening. So, this buyer starts asking me some questions, and I think he picked up that I didn’t know that much about it. But he went along, and he started buying some cattle. I needed to get 100 head to get into a pen. I talked to the feedlot company. I knew enough about that, how feedlots work and how they took care of the cattle.

This is my second job, so I am not out there feeding them all the time. I am an investor. But after a while, I am in over my head. My view of my dad changed quite a bit with that failure on my part. Dad is a lot smarter than I give him credit for. I bailed out. I lost some money. It did not destroy me, but I learned how to buy cattle and how that worked in another way. Oddly enough, I had never milked a cow. This is weird. Not many of you have milked a cow, but I bought a Guernsey cow from the sale barn. I had 14 acres of land and I had never milked a cow.  As soon as I bought the cow, I asked this older farmer guy that I knew, I said, “Hey, if I need any help, would you give me some instructions here? ““How do you milk the cow?” Well, I learned how to milk the cow.

Now, in the business world, I was always willing to learn. I was willing to learn standards, and so my first business was owning a trucking company. There is a whole story how I got started, but I had to learn how to get a CDL, that is commercial driver’s license, to drive a big semi-truck. I had to learn how to teach other people how to get their licenses, because I had to get them qualified to drive this CDL, commercial driver’s license, this big truck. I had to learn how to load the truck. I had to learn how to write up a contract. I had to learn how to collect the money. Nobody held my hand through each one of these. I constantly stretched myself. I was only doing local moves, and then somebody calls me and says, “Could you move these people to the country of Bangladesh?” Well, I did not even know where Bangladesh is. My instant response was, “Yes, we can do that.” I got on the phone and figured out how to do that, and I found somebody to represent in international moving. I’m sitting in front of some finished goods parts here that relate to sales that we do. I bought this machine shop.

Believe it or not, I really had never, ever owned a machine shop. I had never even been in a machine shop other than this one. I bought it, because I knew and understand the financial realm, but I knew I could learn enough about the technical, and I had people that would do the technical part. And I am sharp on how to make a machine part and the components of heat treating, the components of plating, the ways that we do things for welding. I’m none of these things, but I know about them. I know how to do it. I own about seven rent homes. I can go on and on and on. It’s sometimes my downfall because I have to remember to myself my time is valuable. But I had been known to change the toilet stool in a rent home. Not recently. I now have somebody else doing that. I know about construction and helping sheetrock and helping put carpet.

All these things came because I was willing to dig in and learn. Are you a continuous learner? Ask yourself. Become that. Absorb the information. Right now, you have advantages that I never had. Just search Google. You can search Google way before you start asking somebody. You can decide whether the person you’re watching on the Google video or YouTube video is talking about. You can understand that quick. You can become knowledgeable real fast now. Learn how to be a continuous learner. I have been teaching from time to time on what I consider some of the keys to wealth.

This would make one of the top keys. I don’t know if there’s five keys, eight keys, 10 keys. Obviously, things that we would want to improve ourselves on are all elements of wealth, but what are the real anchors? What are the ones that are going to really make the difference in your ability to gain wealth? Hope this helps. I hope you will be diligent in sharing this with others.


  1. Tim Rovenstine 6 years ago

    GREAT…. your talk fires me up. More.

    • Author
      Gary Shotton 6 years ago

      Thanks Tim, you are the greatest!!! Gary

  2. Adam 6 years ago

    Yes, being aggressive in learning is a key to success in business and life.

  3. Alla Pavetic 5 years ago

    I believe that constantly learning something new actually keeps you alive. It’s a great feeling.
    A friend of mine once got a job as an electrician, but he did not actually have the skills. He was just passing one property and asked if they needed a worker and they said they urgently needed an electrician. He said he could do that. After getting a list of things to do for that day, he got on YouTube and pretty much taught himself how to replace jacks, put in installations etc. and so it went. And they were very happy with his work to the point that they asked him to stay when he wanted to leave after a couple of month.

    • Author
      Gary Shotton 5 years ago

      Wow, this is a great example of learning and with Google and YouTube, we have almost anything we need available to learn. I hope our lessons on this website become a part of this learning path for business and business skills. Thanks for your input.

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