You have undoubtedly heard the saying, “You can't teach an old dog, new tricks.” It is true that younger minds are more open to new concepts and more pliable. But that does not mean that older minds have to be ridged. As a matter of fact, minds are amazing things. The more you stimulate them, the more they change.

They change physically and mentally all the time. Yet, people believe that most learning ends at college graduation. I am here to tell you that this could not be further from the truth. There are countless examples of people who have achieved greatness later in life.

  • Harland (Colonel) Sanders’ finger-licking good chicken may be world-renowned now, but it took him several decades to find that sweet spot. He franchised at the age of 62. He was in his 70s when he sold his interest in KFC for $2 million.
  • Laura Ingalls Wilder was first published in 1932 at age 65. That was The Little House On The Prairie.

  • Stan Lee was nearly 40 when he created the legendary Marvel Universe with iconic characters featured in Spider-Man and the X-Men movies.

Those are just a few examples (and pretty famous ones.) None of them actually started out in those careers but evolved into them. It was a combination of inspiration, preparation, and lifelong learning that helped them achieve success.

I know that not all of us are destined for greatness later in life, but we all accumulate experience. It's possible for all of us to realize that we can continue to learn, evolve, and fail our way forward to ultimately find success!

Do You Want Wi-Fi With That?

I finally got my grill for my new house. If you have been following along, you know that I bought one from Home Depot. Days past the estimated delivery date, I called and they said they were doing a ‘Dock Search' for it. Simply put, they lost it! My patience was gone. Waiting three weeks for something I could have picked up at a store was too much. So, I canceled the order and went to a local Ace Hardware which had them in stock.

The exact same model was only $69 more, but they assembled it and delivered it the next day. After looking at the models in stock, there was one that had some additional technology.m It connected to Wi-Fi, had a meat probe, and a phone app. For an additional $100 I could have a high-tech grill. Now, most of you (including my wife) would say, “You don't need that,” but I thought it could help me learn how to grill better.

I have been grilling all my life, but my results have always been mediocre at best. I made all the classic mistakes of undercooking and overcooking everything. What I needed was something that would inform me how to do it better, and we were not disappointed.

Best Burger Ever

After a trip to the premium grocery store (Wegmans), I came back with some burgers, bone-in chicken, and pork chops. Then I spent the afternoon reading the instruction manual, hooking up the propane tank, and connecting the grill to my Wi-Fi and my phone. The instruction manual had nothing in it about how to cook, but the surprise came next.

Kim wanted to start easy, so she said, “Let's do burgers.” I opened up the app, and it had a menu asking what we wanted to grill. I pulled up burgers from the menu and followed the instructions to add some salt, pepper, and press down the middle with a spoon. It said that the center would plump (and it was right).

I preheated the grill, put the meat probe in a burger, started the timer on the app, and put them on the grill. I would normally turn the burger twice or three times to cook them, but I learned that was wrong. You should only flip them once. I toasted the buns (which only took a minute or so). As soon as the burgers reached the right temperature, the grill alerted me it was time to flip them. Once they were fully cooked inside (to 125°), I was told to take them off and let them sit for three minutes.

We dished everything out and sat down to eat. Kim said, “You have never really cooked food on the grill the way I liked it… but this is the best burger you have ever cooked for me and it's delicious!” This old dog certainly learned some new tricks!

Lessons Learned

When I started grilling, there was no technology. There were no YouTube or apps, but there were books and cooking shows on TV. I just never thought I needed to learn new stuff and I was wrong. I am a geek, and I love technology that makes your life better and easier. You should see the stuff we have in our new house that was not available 20 years ago when we built our last house and when I bought my last premium grill! That $100 technology upgrade will save me that in badly cooked food in no time. It was a good investment in technology, but it was an even better investment in myself! Well worth it!

Following other peoples' success tips is key to learning how to do things better, but you have your own life lessons that can enhance or hinder how you may succeed or fail with them. I could have read books, or watched TV shows, but it took technology to appeal to me. I was amazed at how it all worked together to help me know what to do and when to do it. Embrace your personal learning styles and embrace your quirks. Also, embrace your failures, especially when you taste success like the “Best Burger Ever.”

It's never too late to grow. While many people may stop learning because they feel they are so set in their ways, you don't have to or need to. You are never too old to pick up a guitar and join a band, learn email marketing, or cook the “Best Burger Ever.” Now I am excited to learn how to make the Best Chicken and Best Pork Chops Ever (and so much more that I have never tried before.)

One final thought… It was not just the grill or I that succeeded. It was the system. If you hear somebody say that they have perfected something and you can too, be wary of the fact that their skills, learning styles, and life lessons may not be the same as yours. So keep on learning and take the time to create your own system and keep trying to perfect it!

“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.”
― Henry Ford

Comment below and share your thoughts, ideas, or questions about how you learn, and how that offers the opportunity to create new successes for you and your business.

To learn more about this and other topics on B2b Sales & Marketing, visit our podcast website at The Bacon Podcast.