I’ll give you a tip about the people and businesses that will be successful tomorrow.
They are the ones that are actively learning today.
- Not the ones who think about learning something, but don’t. They are dreamers.
- Not the ones who vaguely read a book or listen to a podcast and think they have learned something via osmosis, but they haven’t. They are delusional.
- Not the ones who think they “could” learn it if they wanted to, but never do. They are lazy.
Learning can be fun. It can be exhilarating and empowering. But it can also be difficult and frustrating.
And it can be easy to find reasons not to keep learning.
For one, we are exposed to so much information these days and it has multiplied dramatically over recent decades. It can be tempting to just shut it all out.
And the rise and ubiquity of technology is intertwined with the occurrence of information overload. Sometimes we feel like we can’t escape from it.
But that’s no excuse for not learning. The mere act of learning keeps your mind and body fresh and enables you to be more cognitively creative and mentally flexible. There is plenty of research to back that up. And being fresh enables you to stay current and adapt to changing times.
And if you don’t adapt and stay current your value in a “business” sense will decrease. You will be less able to contribute with relevant ideas, concepts or actions. And you will start to be overlooked or passed by. It’s inevitable.
Importantly, learning doesn’t need to be a boring classroom experience. There are plenty of choices.
- Learn how to use a new software program – and use it for your work or hobby.
- Learn how to use a new app on your smart phone – and use it for fun or productivity.
- Develop a new design or creative technique – and create a new piece of work.
- Attend a seminar – and use the information to make a difference in the way you do things.
- Learn a new language – and converse with natural speakers of the language.
- Learn how to dance or play a sport or do Thai Chi – and do it regularly to master the moves.
- Learn new interpersonal skills such as listening or questioning or counselling – and use it to make a difference when you speak with others.
- Participate in an online course or MOOC – and be diligent with your study to complete the course to the best of your ability.
Exposing yourself to new information alone isn’t learning – it’s all about what you do with that information. Learning creates new pathways in the brain due to the repeated efforts to accomplish the new task.
Effective adult learning comes from taking action.
Give yourself a break! You don’t need to become an expert in your subject as a result of your learning to consider yourself successful.
Learning is a journey, not the destination
Learning something new encourages flexibility and humility in the learner. It makes you recognise new things about yourself. Over time it makes you more capable and more adaptable. It keeps you from getting stale in mindset and attitude.
Given the rapid changes we experience in the modern world successful people and businesses need the ability to learn from new experiences and quickly evolve. In the business start-up world they call it “doing a pivot” – that is, learning from what you have done and changing course to be more successful in the next stage.
Why should you keep learning?
If you’re in a sales role you need to keep learning to add value to your interactions with clients and to add value to your employer with new insights and ideas gained from industry interaction.
If you’re in a management role you must keep learning to remain ahead of the curve and recognise new opportunities or competitive forces before they are on your doorstep (Instead of feeling threatened by the likelihood of change).
If you’re in a professional role you need to learn about the new influences or next development in your industry that will change the way you do your work and the value you provide for your clients and/or your employer.
Continual learning is no longer optional
You can’t afford to stop learning once you leave school, finish university, qualify for a trade, start a business, or achieve the next promotion.
Like it or not, once you stop learning your value will begin to erode.
This fast-moving world will overtake you, and your previous knowledge will become commonplace, obsolete or inadequate to compete with those who do stay current and develop new capabilities.
Learning is a journey… why not take yourself on an adventure!