New Feature – University of Real Life

I’m constantly amazed at the fact that someone will make an enormous investment of time and money to obtain a college education but then refuse to take advantage of the many valuable lessons we find in real life almost daily!

Don’t misunderstand … I value and respect a college education and recommend it to everyone who wants to be successful in today’s competitive, chaotic environment. However, consider the monumental investment.

I recently read an article that the average annual price for a college education, tuition and fees, at an average private four-year school has reached close to $35,000! Of course, that means about $140,000 for a basic four-year degree. Or does it?

Another article in the Boston Globe describes what it calls “the four-year college myth,” the idealized view that college students graduate from high school and go directly to a college campus, study full-time, and finish in four years. The author of that article states that his rough calculations using federal data would indicate that fewer than 10 percent of adults who have a Bachelor’s degree earned that degree in four years or less. Roughly 85% of today’s college students are older, work, and often study part-time. In short, we’re looking at an even greater stake of both time and money. However, you can’t argue the potential value of that education.

Consider the advantages of earning that college degree AND then continuing to invest in life-long learning by merely tapping the potential we so often take for granted … that of radio, television, books, magazines, newspapers, and the ever-growing power of the Internet. Thomas L. Friedman, author of The World Is Flat, says: “Never before in the history of the planet have so many people—on their own—had the ability to find so much information about so many things and about so many other people.”

However, having the ability doesn’t necessarily mean we take advantage of it. Again, we face the challenge of closing the knowing-doing gap. It’s really quite simple to continue our journey of life-long learning—it takes nothing more than an effort to observe what’s happening around us. Using today’s many technologies, simply look, listen, search, observe and evaluate daily occurrences in search of the lessons so often available to us. Invest the time and effort and the benefits will soon become quite evident.

In this new blog feature, we’ll be sharing many of the life lessons that occur daily but are often missed by those who don’t have the time, energy, or desire to seek them out. It is our hope that you’ll find value that can be utilized to solve problems, increase productivity and profitability, and simply enhance your continuous effort to succeed.

Another Example from Wal-Mart

Well, Wal-Mart has done it again. Many will simply overlook this valuable lesson because they disapprove of Wal-Mart. I’ve seen it happen with Bill Gates, General Motors, Jack Welch, IBM and the list goes on and on. Previous history, personal dislike, poor decisions … these are just some of the reasons why people make the decision to ignore a valuable lesson, a good example, creativity, or innovation as it emerges in world of business. We must set aside personal feelings and maintain an open mind as we search for life’s lessons.

Let’s look closer at what Wal-Mart has come up with this time.

The world’s #1 retailer is testing a new concept to add to its U.S. portfolio—a Hispanic-oriented grocery store designed to tap into this potentially lucrative and ever-growing market segment.

Wal-Mart is calling it Supermercado de Walmart, and it recently opened a store in Phoenix after successfully launching a store in Houston in late April. However, Wal-Mart is entering an intensely competitive marketplace. Hispanics, frequent grocery shoppers, carry with them an estimated $1 trillion in buying power, and Wal-Mart competitors have already noticed that spending power.

“It’s an evolution of what we’ve been doing,” Wal-Mart spokeswoman Amy Wyatt-Moore said, noting that Wal-Mart already operates about 500 stores in areas with large Hispanic populations.

Inside the brightly colored 39,000-square-foot store, a well-stocked produce section has mangoes, limes and papayas displayed in bins. The meat market has tripe and pigs feet.

Traditional Hispanic fare can be had at a small eating area, where tacos and tortas can be bought and chicken mole is a specialty. A seating area with a salsa bar is close by. Signs are in English and Spanish, and customers shop amid a background of Hispanic music coming over the speaker system.

The growth of the Hispanic population has been headlining our newspapers and newscasts for the past several years. How many companies have put forth an effort to capitalize on that growing market segment? This is a prime example of why Wal-Mart continues to grow, succeed, and profit at a time when so many others suffer or even become distinct. Wal-Mart continues to find a need and fill it!

About Harry K. Jones

Harry K. Jones is a motivational speaker and consultant for AchieveMax®, Inc., a company of professional speakers who provide custom-designed seminars, keynote presentations, and consulting services. Harry's top requested topics include change management, customer service, creativity, employee retention, goal setting, leadership, stress management, teamwork, and time management. For more information on Harry's presentations, please call 800-886-2629 or fill out our contact form.

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