Lifelong Learning Equals Success Home

Lifelong Learning Equals Success
by Joe Bonura, CSP


I Still Cannot Play

Many years ago, I wanted to learn to play the piano. The piano teacher came to the house for my lessons, but when he returned the next week, he saw no progress. I did not take the time to practice my lessons, and so, each week, the same poor results were apparent. The exasperated teacher stated that I did not really want to play the piano, and I replied, "Yes, I do, but I just do not like to practice." He refused to give me lessons if I was not going to practice each week, and consequently, I still can not play the piano today.

The Easy Way

I wanted to play, but I was not willing to put forth the effort; I wanted the easy way. I wanted to learn by osmosis. Similarly, life does not work that way. No matter what your aspirations are, you must put forth the effort. There is an expression, "When the student is ready, the teacher will come." However, if the student is not ready, ten teachers may come, and the result will never be positive.

No Drive

There are many talented people with skills that they will never see come to fruition because they have never expanded on their God-given talents. Their minds are closed to learning new ideas and techniques, and their careers are frozen in today's ideas and yesterday's knowledge. They truly believe that they already know everything they need to know. Their book of life is closed -- never to be opened again. They have already travelled as far as they will go, never experiencing the cornucopia of experiences that life has waiting for them, and never finding the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. They have the talent, but they do not have the drive. When exposed to a road map, they fold it up and continue to drive in circles, getting nowhere near their potential destination.

The Good Life

They can see themselves playing a grand piano at Carnegie Hall in New York City, but they stubbornly refuse to see themselves practicing eight hours a day for ten years. There is a price to pay for all good things that come to us. Many want the good life, but are they willing to pay the price in their daily actions? Perhaps, their credo is, "I want, I want, I want," but in actuality, they say, "I will not, I will not, I will not do what is necessary to get what I want.”

It Is All In The Fundamentals

The great cellist Yo Yo Ma was asked by a young music student to teach her to be as creative as he is on the cello. He advised her to learn the fundamentals so well that she did not have to think about them, and then she could be creative. It takes years to learn the fundamentals.

Day In And Day Out

Incredible trumpeter Chris Botti stated that his trumpet teacher at Purdue University had him practice the scales every day, day in and day out, until he was able to do them in his sleep. He said it was a boring routine, but he is reaping the benefits today because of those endless hours of practice.

Are You Comfortable?

You have heard the expression, "Practice makes perfect." The truth is, "Perfect practice makes perfect," and it takes years of perfect practice to get to the point where you are comfortable with your performance. If you do not know how to practice, learn from someone who does know, read books, listen to CD's, and attend seminars. We live in a high-tech world where information is obtained easily and quickly. Come out of your comfort zone, and dig in, if you want to dig your way out of the rut that you are in.

No Accolades For Failure

An ambitious young writer asked Ernest Hemingway for his formula for writing success. And Hemingway’s reply? To write, and write, and write, and write! Most aspiring writers want to be Hemingways, but they do not want to do the writing part every day. It is tedious, and there are no accolades to keep them motivated. We see the performer after he or she has achieved greatness; however, we do not see the years of effort and preparation that went into their career to make it look effortless.

Make It Look Easy

One of the unique things that I employ as a sales trainer is do field work with my clients. I do not observe the sales call; I actually make the call. I often get the comment, "You make it look so easy." It looks easy because I have been practicing every day for many years. A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step, and today is the day to take that step, and someday, someone may say to you that you make it look so easy. It has taken me years of study, success, and failure to learn my trade. I love to sell (serve people), and that is why I endeavor to succeed in sales. My goal is to learn and apply at least one new thing each day.

Some Just Do Not Get It

I have trained thousands of sales people over the last 20 years. After one such training seminar, a man told me that while he enjoyed my presentation, he had been in the business 30 years, and he really did not learn anything new. I thanked him for his input and continued packing my materials for my journey home. A few minutes later, another gentleman, bubbling with enthusiasm, related that he had been in the business over 35 years, and this was the best learning experience he had ever had.

The Chopping Block

I sought the client who engaged me for the seminar to rate the performance of the two people who made the comments. The vice president of sales told me that the first man had been with their company for five years and was their lowest producer and would probably be on the chopping block. The second gentleman who made a comment was his number one sales producer.

The Best Go From Good To Great

Why is it that those who need the most help, do not see the need, and those, who are at the top of their game, are open-minded and ready to move to the next level? For fifteen years, I have been following the career of a salesman in my trainings, Lincoln Baker. Lincoln was the top producer for a large insurance company, and every time he attended my sales sessions, he wrote a note to me that my sales suggestions would make him an additional $20,000 for the year. As good as Lincoln is, he is always open to becoming better; he attends sales training with an open mind, knowing that one good idea can make a big difference in his performance. Today he has his own insurance agency, and will undoubtedly be one of the top brokers in California in the coming years.

Words Of Wisdom

I love clichés because of the element of truth in all of them. One of my favorites is, "You can lead a horse to water, but you can not make him drink." I invest over $4,000+ a year in my personal self-development, and I believe in the cliche, "When you are ripe, you rot -- you should be green and growing." I have been blessed to have this philosophy since I first entered the business world. When I was 20 years old, I was terrified of public speaking, so I invested $300 in a public speaking course, when I was earning only $325 a month. Because I was willing to invest one month's income to conquer my fear and to learn something new, today I speak confidently to thousands of people every year. Was the $300 investment worth it? I also invested in an education in the advertising business that resulted in ownership of one of the largest advertising agencies in Kentucky. An investment in your personal development will result in massive benefits.

The Keyboard Of Life

Are you willing to pay the price? Are you willing to sit at life's keyboard and practice? Are you willing to learn more, even though you think you know all there is to know? Are you willing to try new things? Are you willing to be open-minded about new ideas to become the person you are meant to be? Are you willing to be patient in the knowledge that the right actions, taken on a consistent basis, will lead to consistent success? The key phrase here is, "Are you willing?"

Say Yes!

If you answered yes, consider yourself in an elite group of people who will always be at the top of their game. It will not be easy, but the results that you experience will be more than worth the effort. When you sit down at the piano, the Carnegie Hall of your life, the audience will be awed by your performance -- and so will you.


© 2011 Joe Bonura & Associates, Inc.

To see Joe and hear one of his favorite selling tips, follow this link to a video he created to share with folks who are interested in making more sales, or finding a job:


Joe Bonura would be pleased for you to reprint the article text free of charge (non-exclusively), but asks that you include his name and contact information:

Joe Bonura
Joe Bonura & Associates, Inc.
407 Landis Lakes Court
Louisville, KY  40245

(502) 553-1746 phone


About Joe Bonura

His background is unique. Joe owned and operated a highly successful advertising agency for 18 years. During that time, he found his advertising campaigns were more effective when he educated his clients in the areas of sales and service. He conducted training seminars for his clients as added value. Word spread that Joe was a quality speaker and more and more people asked him to speak. The demand became so high that he sold the agency to three of his associates to start his own speaking and consulting company, Joe Bonura & Associates, Inc.

Joe is past President of the Kentucky Speakers Association and a Certified Speaking Professional (CSP), a prestigious designation earned by only 8% of the 3,600 member National Speakers Association. Joe presently serves on the board of directors of NSA.

He is author of the audio learning systems "Three-Dimensional Selling®" and "Turning Customer Satisfaction Into Customer Excitement®." He is author of the book Throw the Rabbit—The Ultimate Approach to Three-Dimensional Selling.




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