“The day you stop learning is the day you stop living. We should all pick up new skills, ideas, viewpoints, and ways of working every day.” Richard Branson
A life of continuous learning is essential to growth. But here's the thing: it’s up to you to seek out the Teachers who will constantly push you to think better, think deeper and think differently.
Successful people know this; that’s why they have an insatiable desire and commitment to learn more, in more ways than one.
And yet many people don’t invest in their own mastery. They live a life of stasis, thinking they know all they need to know. Some of them leave school, complete their apprenticeship, get their degree and then stop.
The learning piece? Quite simply it’s lost in a sea of excuses – ‘it’s all too hard’, ‘I’ve got no time’, ‘what’s the point’, ‘I don’t need to, ‘I know all I need to know’.
We are living in a world that is moving at an incredible speed making current knowledge obsolete at a faster rate of knots than ever before. If we don't at least try and keep up, if we don't attempt to remain relevant and current, if we don’t keep expanding our knowledge and developing our expertise we risk becoming defunct and tossed out with the ‘maybe I’ll recycle that later’ pile.
Darren Hardy, the former publisher of SUCCESS magazine, wrote in his article ‘Leadership For A Changing World’ that, “By 1900, it had taken 150 years to double all human knowledge. Today it takes only one or two years, and by 2020, knowledge will double every 72 days.” Just think about that!
It’s amazing how many people fail to invest in Teachers and then when they do (either out of their own pockets or at the expense of their businesses) it’s equally astounding how many don’t put in to practice the learnings. People fail to do the required work, they don’t commit to making even a 1% change. They simply revert to what they know and what they’ve been doing up till now.
I get this learning thing is challenging. It forces us out of the comfort zone of knowing what we know, it challenges us to get comfortable with being uncomfortable, it encourages us to explore and get curious about something new and unknown. Seth Godin in his blog ‘Tension vs. Fear' says, “Tension is the hallmark of a great educational experience. The tension of not quite knowing where we are in the process, not being sure of the curriculum, not having a guarantee that it's about to happen.” He adds, “Effective teachers have the courage to create tension. And adult learners on their way to levelling up actively seek out this tension, because it works. It pushes us over the chasm to the other side.”
Learning doesn't just happen in the classroom of academia. It’s not necessarily about the letters that come after your name. It’s about learning what you do well, how you can do it better. And this is where finding the right Teacher for you is critical. They will spark inspiration, instil values, feed curiosity, and help you look for answers.
The right Teacher will stretch your thinking, challenge your ideas and encourage you to push further because they know that this constant curiosity creates real opportunity for growth, achievement and success.
A life of continuous learning is a self-directed desire and choice.
And on that note, I’m about to head in to 3 days of learning from my own teachers at Thought Leaders Business School. I know I am going to feel tension, I am ready to be challenged on my thinking and I am absolutely open to learning more because I know that on the other side of these three days of tension is renewed focus, renewed inspiration and further development of my own expertise.
Become the student again and allow your Teachers to guide you through the murkiness of the unknown. Because you never know, when you come out the other side you may finally find yourself becoming exactly who you wanted to be when you grow up.