Entering the Learning Zone…True Educational and Leadership Pathway

By Lt. Col. Ralph Gracia
Guest Columnist

“Entering the Learning Zone.” It isn’t a place exactly, but a state-of-mind. To enter the “learning zone” one must be prepared for a change in lifestyle, but trust me, it will all be worth it in the end if you stay in this mental zone. For beginners, one must mentally prepare to be focused on every class and task assigned; one must be diligent and show a sense of pride and commitment in their work performance. People must be ready to have the mental toughness to keep goals and priorities straight, and not let something “fun” veer them off course so drastically that it makes it near impossible to “right the ship.” Abigail Adams said, “Learning is not attained by chance, it must be sought for with ardor and diligence.” In essence, we don’t learn by luck, we learn through passion and desire to learn and the patience to keep learning.

Interestingly enough, the key elements needed for “Entering the Learning Zone,” are the same things needed to follow both an educational and a leadership pathway. The two are similar inroads needed to achieve goals, using personal attributes that people must shape themselves. As all of my readers are aware, leaders come in all different forms, from a CEO of a company to a leader in a discussion. Leaders aren’t defined by an action they do, but by a situation that usually brings out the leader. Suffice it to say, what it comes down to, is usually whoever handles a situation best or is best educated about the subject, or whoever is able to get a majority of people to listen, are the leaders. It doesn’t mean that they are always the best fit, but John Quincy Adams said, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader.” I believe this quotation more and more each time I hear it; in fact, I look for the same things in people.

Everyone is able to be a leader and they must humble themselves to act as such. The same thing applies for the “Learning Zone.” To learn one must possess the traits to be open-minded, hungry, and humble. Truly, people are all able to be leaders and great teachers; it’s up to them to figure and seek out what they will be learning, teaching, and leading in their own minds and lives…finding the “ZONE” is key!

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