Sacred Cows Make the Best Hamburgers: Continuing to Learn and Grow

over 1 year ago, David Sweet



Miyamoto Musashi, the 16th century Japanese sword fighter said, “Never have a favorite weapon.” If you continually fall back on a specific method or skill-set over and over, you will grow predictable. You will be beaten.

Napoleon, crushing the Prussian army in the battles of Jena and Auerstedt, stood at the foot of the tomb of the legendary Prussian general, Frederick the Great. He spoke, “Gentlemen, if this man were still alive I would not be here.” Napoleon alluded to the Prussian army stagnating for a generation, drilling, and mastering all the maneuvers that Frederick taught, but neglecting continual learning and growing. The army grew predictable and Napoleon triumphed.

Hannibal too routed the Romans at Lake Trasimene.  Hannibal knew the Roman’s lived (and died) by the motto, “death before retreat.” Romans boundlessly charged ahead, while Hannibal anticipated to win a critical battle.

Do you have a favorite weapon? Do you do certain things the same way? Do you have a sacred cow? As Mark Twain wrote, “Sacred cows make the best hamburgers.”

To succeed, continually learn and improve. Your competition ambitiously upgrades and changes. Each day, take small steps tweaking, refining. Train when others give up. Reading widely and deeply in a variety of fields, not just your specialization, cross fertilizes new ideas and growth.  Look to finish 12 books a year as a start.  Beyond reading, listen to audio books. Then podcasts. And remember the importance of old-fashioned classroom learning. Take the time to continual upgrade old skills and learn new ones. Lastly, to put your learning on over-drive, find an executive coach to propel you to your potential.

My challenge to you today is to kill your sacred cows. Examine and initiate plans to take improve and grow personally and professionally, intellectually, physically, and spiritually. Then execute constantly. As the adage goes, if you were traveling to the moon from Earth and changed the direction by a mere 1 degree, you’d miss the moon by 2,606 kilometers. Focusing on small changes, done consistently, brings continual renewal and accomplishments.