I have been a student my entire life. I crave new information and enjoy exploring areas in which I have little or no knowledge. To me, constant learning is an essential part of life and I can’t imagine not having the drive to pursue it. Reflecting on this, I have collected some strategies on how you can make learning a priority in your life too.
Knowledge comes from others
Learning isn’t just books. In school, we are told to “study this text,” “read this novel,” or “research this paper.” But learning also happens by interacting with people, getting to know your co-workers and creating new projects. You can learn more by spending a day with the right person than reading 10 books. I am not saying that books and other traditional tools aren’t valuable, just that they are not everything.
If you look for lessons in your interactions with others, you will often get more out of the relationship than you thought possible. Don’t shy away from being forward, helpful and generous, as these traits can help you discover new knowledge.
Understand the world
Let me take a slightly selfish point of view for a moment. If you want to progress in the world that you live in, whatever that might look like, you need to understand it. A successful career is as much about knowing how the system works as it is about the knowledge itself.
At the same time, you should be willing to help others learn about your world. There is an old saying that “if you can’t be replaced, you can’t be promoted.” Sharing your knowledge not only helps you progress, but it helps everyone around you.
Progress or move backwards
I have come across some people that seem content with their current situation and level of knowledge. But this attitude of complacency is harmful, as there is no equilibrium. The truth is that you either progress or you move backwards. As stressful as that can sometimes seem, there is no escaping it. The world will continue to progress, and you need to move along with it.
There are some simple ways that you can keep your learning routine in check, and one way is through a service like Pluralsight. By setting the goal to watch one new course a week, or whatever cadence your schedule allows, you can commit to keep up with changes in your industry.
Let learning inspire you
When you are knee deep in a task or project, it can be easy to go into autopilot until you reach the finish line. But if learning is a real priority in your life and part of your routine, you can use that new knowledge as inspiration to increase the quality of your project.
Learning exposes you to new ideas and provides inspiration for both current and future projects. Understanding the evolution of your industry can make a big impact on your project direction.
Learning keeps the mind sharp
Learning keeps your mind focused and sharp. The brain is like any other muscle in that it needs exercise. If you don’t give your mind regular workouts, it will deteriorate. Through dedicated, lifelong learning, you can maintain the sharpness of your mind and get a fresh perspective on proposals, ideas and projects.
Why do you keep learning? What keeps you motivated? Let me know in the comments below.