By John Tschohl

“If you are not willing to learn no one can help you. If you are determined to learn no one can stop you.” – Zig Ziglar

I believe that learning is the fundamental activity in a successful and purposeful life. I have spent much time and money since 1979, learning about everything related to customer service. The result has led me to position myself as the leading service strategist and expert in the world. I have been given endless opportunities to learn and I realize that the more difficult the situation, the more likely I am to learn and take that inevitable leap to move ahead with confidence.

Mark Cuban is the epitome of this principle. In his early 20s, he bought a $99 computer and taught himself how to program by reading every manual he could find. The result? A thorough understanding of the technology he was selling and the insight to make it better.

Mark Cuban has the kind of wealth that every startup and entrepreneur dreams of. He’s also earned every cent of it himself. Listed on Wikipedia as an American businessman, investor, film producer, author, television personality, and philanthropist, the self-made mogul and star of Shark Tank founded his first company at age 25 and is currently estimated to be worth in the region of $3+ billion.Driven and determined, he knows what he wants and has the self-belief and ambition to make it happen.

Jeff Bezos and Steve Jobs were raised by adoptive parents and Nelson Mandela changed the world from a jail cell.

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever”  Mahatma Gandhi

Invest in your success. In my book, Moving Up, I constantly remind readers that it’s about your life; it’s about succeeding in whatever you choose to do. It can be anything you can dream of. It’s about taking chances, being proactive and ready. Great things are not going to happen for you unless you believe it, see it in your mind and focus on that goal.

“Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already    mastered, you will never grow” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

I take great pride in learning from some really great people in my life. First is my mother. She passed in 2003 at the age of 102. She gave me the self-confidence and self-worth to reach my goals.

Other influencing people I have been blessed to share time with are the late Paul Meyer, leader of the Success Motivation Institute. He taught me how to set goals, use visualization, affirmation and make money. He also gives credit to his mother. He states: “My mother planted the belief in me that the riches of all creation belonged to me if I wanted them and claimed them.”

Vernon Hill is an American businessman, the founder and chairman of Metro Bank, a UK retail bank with 66 stores, and assets $28.6 billion. He taught me to never give up and to do what others wouldn’t even think of doing. And, he’s a good friend.

Also, I learned a lot from the late Minnesota Congressman Bill Frenzel who was on the House Ways and Means Committee. His gifts to me were priceless. He showed me the benefits of being a good listener and he was humble. And he was one of the most influential members of Congress.

Learn from your mistakes.The process of learning from our mistakes is truly invaluable, and is something we need to run toward, not run away from.

Every successful company has ups and downs but the good ones look at it differently than the ones that choose to give up. Starbucks has experienced its share of failures and setbacks. When the economic downturn caused the coffee house industry to implode, Starbucks was ill-equipped to survive in a world where caffeine aficionados could no longer afford to drop $5 on a cup of java. Despite the odds, the brand managed to refine its business model and adapt to changing economic circumstances.

In a sense, every day you either grow or die mentally. Learn about your company, learn about your products, and learn about your customers.

“With learning comes self-fulfillment” – John Tschohl

John Tschohl is a professional speaker, trainer, and consultant. He is the President and founder of Service Quality Institute (the global leader in customer service) with operations in over 40 countries.   John is a self-made millionaire traveling and speaking more than 50 times each year. He is considered to be one of the foremost authorities on service strategy, success, empowerment and customer service in the world. John’s monthly strategic newsletter is available online at no charge. He can also be reached on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.