“Once you stop learning you start dying” Albert Einstein.
The speed of change in my lifetime alone is astonishing … I grew up in a home that had no telephone, I remember our TV had a 26 inch screen and three channels. We had a car, but it was pretty beat up and my dad spent most weekends doing something or other to keep it going. My first mobile phone was a Radio Shack transportable (great if you like to lift weights) which I bought when I had my first sales job. My first computer programming job was on an IBM mainframe that had significantly less memory and main storage than the iphone I carry in my pocket. I was one of those enraptured kids who followed the Apollo program and watched the first landing on the moon.
I’m not THAT old!
“Education is not preparation for life, learning is life itself.” John Dewey.
The pace of change is certainly not slowing down. We are affected by technological innovations, medical discoveries, changes in demographics and even global events and global competition.
So what can YOU do to keep up?
- Create your own “Lifelong Learning Plan” … focused on all the things you can do for you! Use the following 9 tips to fill out that plan.
- Read! You need to cultivate this habit, set aside time and read content that will be useful to you. Read newspaper articles that keep you abreast of world trends, read about innovations in the world, read about what others are doing.
- Get mentors/advisors/collaborators. People that can guide you, help you and impart their experience and knowledge. This is not easy … and YOU need to do all the work. Be prepared with what you want to know, with relevant questions and with a desire to learn.
- Set aside time for further education … your local college, university, any institution that offers training. Online sources like Coursera offer free, but valuable training opportunities.
- Revisit old training materials. When you completed that last course you likely only retained some relatively small percentage of the content. Go back and revisit it, improve the return on that investment!
- Borrow training materials from colleagues. If they liked it, and are willing to lend you the material it is a good way to get cheap training.
- Find online content that is relevant to you. Use RSS feeds, follow blogs, get on Twitter and follow interesting people.
- Get involved outside your job area, in social committees, health and safety committees etc. You will meet and learn from colleagues with different skills than yourself.
- Get involved with charities and not for profits. You will learn from people who work in totally different worlds than you.
- Take advantage of any company sponsored training that you can. Understand the possibilities and maximize them. However … remember this is an investment in you, so don’t ONLY do the training if someone else is paying. Invest in yourself!
The more you learn the more interesting you will become. It cannot hurt your career, and can only enhance your employability and your value to your employer. In our changing world I think this is critical for anyone!
Kevin Dee is Chairman and founder of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
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