Are you one of those people who “knows” you should keep up with reading a certain periodical but has a tall pile of unread copies on your bedside table or office floor?
The benefit continuous learning brings is summed up in one old-fashioned phrase “You don’t know what you don’t know.” What we do know takes us only so far. New information opens up new methods, strategies, techniques, and opportunities that can bring many positives. Until we get that new knowledge we can’t know what these are.
For this reason, our learning orientation can significantly impact our success. Understanding how you feel about learning, and what your actions reveal about those feelings, can position you to make key changes essential to advancement.
Take a close look about how you feel about learning. Where does learning fit into your life? Do you aspire to learn something new every day or every week? If so are you usually successful? Do you learn on a need-to-know basis if at all? Are learning activities such as continuing education or special interest classes built into your regular schedule?
Being honest about your feelings on continuous learning is important. If learning is a should but not a true personal priority you are going to find lots of ways to avoid it.
The first step to incorporating more learning into your daily life is working up some more enthusiasm about the learning process. We make time to do the things we feel good about doing. In other words, what gets done is what we want to get done.
Happily, regular learning has both direct and indirect benefits. When we learn something new we get that specific bit of new knowledge and how to use it. Moreover, learning anything at all makes us smarter in general. In this way our brain resembles a muscle – we need to use it or lose it. As you stretch yourself to learn new things you make yourself more of a nimble thinker, a smarter person, overall.
Many people find they are enthusiastic about the idea of learning but skeptical that it can be fit into their already overflowing schedule. Today more than ever there are an almost innumerable ways to expose yourself to new knowledge. You can watch television programs or DVD recordings, listen to presentations live, via webcast or podcast. You can listen to an audio cd or mp3, on the go, in an ipod, in your car or at home or in the office. Attend a brown bag learning lunch or a one day conference or multi-day symposium. Read a new book or a new magazine. Register for a weekly class, and attend! Set aside ½ an hour a few nights a week for professional reading.
You can choose when you learn and what you learn. Experiment with different ways to bring new learning into your daily life. As long as you are choosing learning you will feel a positive impact. And you’ll learn, firsthand, how beneficial regular learning can be.
Anne Clarke, is a personal and executive coach and principal of ABClarke Coaching. She helps individuals, professionals and entrepreneurs achieve success – however they define it. Contact Anne at [email protected] or on the web at www.setting-and-achieving-goals.com