Improving your Learning Diet

In an earlier post we discussed the concept of a learning diet and I talked about how you might equate several of the major food groups to types of learning.  Let’s touch on that to start today before we dig deeper about improving your diet.

What should your learning diet include?  Let’s take a look at the “major food groups” as I see them:

  • Complex carbs-this would be material that provides some long term fuel, but is also not too difficulty to digest.  Magazines can satisfy this learning need, and I would encourage you to digest magazines or other periodicals such as the Wall Street Journal, The Economist or other business focused journals.
  • Simple carbs-these are more like the sugars we get in every day life-too much of this will rot your teeth or your brain.  Most television is like the simple carb and most reading materials are the same way.  I try to stay clear of too much of this garbage, but I get sucked in every once in a while (John Grisham is a simple carb I sometimes enjoy)
  • High Fiber-Many of you would prefer to stay away from the high fiber area.  Fiber can sometimes be easy to ingest, but the back end consequences can sometimes be painful or discomforting.  The Classics can sometimes be like a high fiber diet, but the classics are more of a cross between high fiber and protein (stay tuned).  We all need a dose of fiber and the longer we wait to use it, the more painful it becomes. 
  • Proteins-just as a food protein provides essential nutrients to the body, learning protein does the same.  Learning proteins can be like the complex carbs we talked about earlier, but I also see proteins being more industry specific versus the general business focus of most complex carbs. 

While glancing at the types of learning above it should be readily apparent to each of you where you need to focus your efforts.  Let’s talk today about “proteins and complex carbohydrates” in your learning life.

Proteins are essential to many bodily functions.  Here is what proteins do according to “For Dummies”:

Protein is an essential nutrient found in animal products, nuts, and beans. The name protein name comes from the Greek word protos, which means “first.” Your body uses proteins in your diet to build new cells, maintain tissues, and synthesize new proteins that make it possible for you to perform basic bodily functions.

Building new cells, maintaining tissues and helping with basic body functions is an important part of the nutrient protein.  Learning proteins would also help grow new thoughts and ideas and help maintain the minimal status quo for each one of us in our personal and professional life.  The animal products, nuts and beans that equate to learning would be things like general business information that we need to sustain and grow our thoughts.  Industry journals, major business periodicals or newsletter and similar documents would equal the proteins of our food world.  Attending workshops or seminars in our work areas or in new work areas to support and encourage skill and knowledge development would also qualify here.

According to About.com Nutrition, Complex Carbs do the following:

Complex carbohydrates are chains of three or more single sugar molecules linked together. Long chains of sugar molecules called starches serve as a storage form of energy in plants. When you eat those plants, your body breaks down the carbohydrates so you can use them for your body's energy needs. Another type, called cellulose, forms the structures that give plants their shape, and it's the main component of dietary fiber.

The key word in that description is Energy.  We lag and slow down without carbs and complex carbs provide better long term energy than simple carbs or sugars.

Complex carbs in the learning diet would also encourage and support us.  Inspirational books with deeper meaning are the “complex carbs” of your learning diet.  Books that come to mind include The Goal by Goldratt or Who Moved my Cheese? by Johnson.  These are inspirational, at least to me, and they promote energy and motion in the workplace and in your business.

Proteins and complex carbs are essential ingredients in your food diet.

Their counterparts in the learning diet are also just as essential.

Don’t forget to include them in liberal portions to assure growth and sufficient energy for the journey.