Being a life-long learner through continuous learning sounds like heaven to some people and the complete opposite to others. But the fact is if you are spending your life learning you are always going to be growing as a person. Think of it this way – food and water nourish our bodies, but learning and knowledge fuel our brains. It is a continual personal development path, from the moment you start pre-school you are sponge soaking up so much information. As we get older, it takes more effort to learn, and many people simply decide not too.
But if you are hungry for knowledge, to make leaps in life or your career, to be able to hold a conversation on more than just the weather and the latest celebrity trends then you’re going to have to keep learning. Knowing more about other cultures and countries is also a benefit if you choose to travel.
It is the self-motivated urge to learn more. It might be about something you are interested in, or that will benefit you in other areas of your life. It might be a new language so you can travel or even move to a different country, or it may be that you are working on your personal growth and want to explore different knowledge areas. Whatever it is you choose, the fact remains it is not a requirement to do it, you simply want to.
“THERE IS NO END TO EDUCATION. IT IS NOT THAT YOU READ A BOOK, PASS AN EXAMINATION, AND FINISH WITH EDUCATION. THE WHOLE OF LIFE, FROM THE MOMENT YOU ARE BORN TO THE MOMENT YOU DIE, IS A PROCESS OF LEARNING.”
– Jiddu Krishnamurti
You might spend your whole life sure that the sky is purple, but with some learning and research, you find it’s blue. Or, you might be unconsciously blind to some of the most significant world issues. When you are continuously searching for knowledge, you will find answers to questions you haven’t asked yet. Although you will have your own set of opinions and views, with some research, listening and reading – in no time at all, you might find that changing. You will get a deeper understanding of the world around you.
The more you know, the more you have to play with. If you want to start a business, the first thing you will do is research that business as deeply as possible. If you’re going to expand your formal learning, you’ll look to study at somewhere like the University of Arizona. Along with book learning, you will learn new skills, and as you improve those skills, you will make links between everything you know and see new possibilities. Problem-solving skills are typically higher in people who have a thirst for learning outside of everything they ‘should’ know.
Throughout your life, you will have more than just one job, and perhaps multiple career paths. And that is good because you need to explore what you like, where the money is, how you contribute to society, and what you get out of the job too. However, the more knowledge you have in a specific field, the more likely you are to be seen as an expert. Experts come highly recommended in networking circles – because you know what you are talking about and can perform.
If you can demonstrate what you know, in your work and how you manage your projects then you will continuously be upskilling, and the next job you apply for should be a step or more up from where you are now.
If you have been working in the same industry for years, and rather than kept up to date with everything that goes on in the field – simply stayed in your own lane – you will quickly become irrelevant. Your knowledge pool will shrink year on year, and you will be replaced by self-starters and higher qualified people. And, rightly so. Within any field of business, there will be the main topic, like finance, for example – and around those things that feed into and feed from. Stocks and shares, different markets, foreign affairs… and so on. So rather than just know about your own field, you should seek information from each of the surrounding pools – to contribute to your work.
One thing that everyone should look into and stay up to date with technology. As technology changes, it changes what we do and how we do things. And that is great, and in the right hands very powerful. But you have to know how to implement that new tech. And how do you know how to do that? By continually learning how to adapt to change AND how technology can be exploited and used in your business. That goes for everyone – own business, working for a company or a freelancer.
One of the biggest killers of confidence is not knowing if what you are saying or doing is correct. Of course, competence leads to confidence. Learning new things, or reaffirming what we already know will give us a deeper understanding of what we are doing. It will boost your confidence in what you do already and give you the confidence to try new things too. Taking on challenges confidently is easier once you trust in your own abilities and knowledge.
Pass It On
The most beautiful thing about knowledge is that it is easy to transfer. As you grow and make jumps in your career, you will find yourself in a position where you can begin to pass down your own learning. All of the work you have put in will pay off when you find yourself in leadership roles where you are required to shape and guide teams and individuals. You can then pass on the most significant gift of all.
Being a life-long learner is a great gift.
“TRUE TEACHERS ARE THOSE WHO USE THEMSELVES AS BRIDGES OVER WHICH THEY INVITE THEIR STUDENTS TO CROSS; THEN, HAVING FACILITATED THEIR CROSSING, JOYFULLY COLLAPSE, ENCOURAGING THEM TO CREATE THEIR OWN.”
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