Wednesday, January 16, 2013


At the CCA Annual Conference last week I heard a presentation by Jim Harris, motivational speaker and author of a book entitled The Learning Paradox. What is the learning paradox?  In a nutshell, effective learning comes from failure, failure makes us uncomfortable, the more uncomfortable you feel, the greater potential there is to learn.  The trick is learning to ignore the uncomfortable feeling. No one enjoys feeling uncomfortable.  But we all need to learn.  We can only do that by embracing the learning process.  It takes focus and motivation, but it is possible to enjoy the uncomfortable feeling that comes from finding out what you don't know, especially true when you were convinced you did know it.
Jim's premise is the world is changing from a knowledge based economy to a learning based economy.

For example, the technology we will use 10 years from now has not been invented yet.  How will businesses and customers react?  Who will prosper and survive in this environment?
The original inventor of digital photography was an engineer working for Kodak back in 1975.  At the time Kodak commanded 90% of the camera film and 85% of the camera sales in the US.  Management was reluctant to embrace the new technology.  Kodak was good at what they did and felt comfortable doing it.  Competitors jumped into the digital camera market.  Kodak filed for bankruptcy protection in 2012.  They no longer make cameras or camera film.

Agriculture has always been quick to adopt new technology, a well documented paradox of its own. Technology replaces people.  It takes fewer people to produce food.  Some people will stay awake at night worrying about this fact.   Who is going to prosper and survive in this environment?  It will be the quick learners, especially the young quick learners.  I think the future is bright for the young and nimble minded.  They will keep agriculture strong.  As long as the old, slow minded get out of the way.  What about the old and nimble minded?  Maybe a few of us still have a chance.

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