You Must Learn To Know More

If we look at the masters in any field, we find a common thread. They are always learning. From Warren Buffett to Bill Gates to Elon Musk, they are curious and looking to know more. Charlie Munger’s family claims he is a book with legs.

Most artists have a wide range of interests. It is not confined to business people. Musicians are among the most curious about new and better ways to do what they do. Highly skilled professionals, whether doctors or trial lawyers are inquisitive. They are excited about new things regardless of how seemingly unconnected to their craft.

I have never met a trial lawyer who acted as if they knew everything. Fund manager either. They are constantly learning and assessing.

The key

Brilliant Jazz trumpeter Wynton Marsalis has an indicator for who learns most.

“Humility engenders learning because it beats back the arrogance that puts blinders on. It leaves you open for truths to reveal themselves. You don’t stand in your own way. . . . Do you know how you can tell when someone is truly humble? I believe there’s one simple test: because they consistently observe and listen, the humble improve. They don’t assume, ‘I know the way'”  

No matter who you meet, they know something valuable that you do not. You learn by listening.

We can each improve a little on that metric.


I build strategic, fact-based estate and income plans. The plans identify alternate ways to achieve spending and estate distribution goals. In the past, I have been a planner with a large insurance, employee benefits, and investment agency, a partner in a large international public accounting firm, CEO of a software start-up, a partner in an energy management system importer, and briefly in the restaurant business. I have appeared on more than 100 television shows on financial planning. I have presented to organizations as varied as the Canadian Bar Association, The Ontario Institute of Chartered Accountants, The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food, and Banks – from CIBC to the Business Development Bank.

Be in touch at 705-927-4770 or by email at don.shaughnessy@gmail.com.

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