Never Stop Learning

Do you remember that point when you were a kid when you were really ready for school to be over with? I’m not referring to that every-day feeling of wanting to get home so you could play...

An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.

Benjamin Franklin

...but that stage when you were really ready to be done with the whole “school thing” for good.   No more pencils.   No more books.   No more teachers dirty looks.   Maybe you were in grade school… Or high school even.   At some point though, I think we all get to that place where “school” just isn't fun anymore.

Now, I realize that there are some of you out there who always loved school and you couldn't get enough of it.   You were thrilled that you could continue the whole school experience in college… and then maybe even graduate school!   I would suggest though, that it wasn't school itself that was the attraction, it was the idea of learning.   For most of us, learning is the part that is exciting.

I truly believe that our success, both as individuals and as organizations, hinges on our desire and capacity to learn.   As individuals, we get through all of that great schooling, whether it stops at high school or even goes all the way through a doctorate degree, and we have learned an incredible amount.   Then we take these learned skills, theories and concepts and we head out into the workplace.We get jobs and start careers where we get to put into practice all that we have come to learn and understand. And what happens?   Well, pretty soon we, um, learn, that we didn't learn everything in school.   There are some things that just aren't taught in school. Some things can’t be learned in a classroom environment.

So how do you handle that?   I would argue that the most successful people you know are those that have embraced those moments and have just slid right into that whole other gear of learning.   Those that realize that your education never stops (even though the formal schooling has) set themselves up best for success.   On the other hand, there are also those individuals that fight this process.   There are those that feel they shouldn't have to learn any more or they don’t desire to learn any more.   This is an attitude that tends to end up creating more struggles and frustration in careers than necessary.

Interestingly, this phenomenon also seems to affect businesses and organizations in a similar manner.   The most successful businesses appear to be those that are flexible and willing to change and grow as times change, consumer demands change and evolve, and technology forges ahead.   The term “innovative” seems to be the key word to convey that an organization is learning and growing, rather than staying stagnant and just sticking with what they already know.   It also seems that these “innovative” companies are the places individuals who love to learn are drawn to.

So, as an individual, what are you doing these days to learn?   What do you know now that you didn't know six weeks ago?   Six months ago?   Six years ago?   If you have to think a while to come with answers to those questions, maybe you need to come up with a plan to change that.

~ Bud Sanders

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