As we enter into the 21st century, the information age, your ability to expand your mind and strive for continuous education is critical to your success. By dedicating yourself to lifelong learning, you can leapfrog ahead of your competition.
The highest paid people in America today work an average of 59 hours per week. They read an average of 2-3 hours per day. They belong to industry associations and organizations that encourage the individual to indulge in lifelong learning with current information and ideas on their fields. Continuous education would mean that they attend annual conventions and go to every session available that has new insights that can catapult their performance to whole new level.
Lifelong learning is the minimum requirement for success today. With information and knowledge in every field doubling every 2-3 years, your knowledge has to double the same way, just for you to stay even.
This brings us to a very important point on intelligence, information, and lifelong learning. There are three different kinds of education that you can acquire, either deliberately or in a random, haphazard fashion. These three kinds of learning are maintenance learning, growth learning and shock learning.
Maintenance learning refers to your keeping current with your field. But this merely keeps you even or stops you from falling behind at a rapid rate. Many people think that reading an occasional book and keeping current with the magazines and newsletters in their field is the equivalent of adding to their education. But this is not the case. It is same as checking the stock market reports each day to find out the sales prices of various stocks and securities. This information does not add to your knowledge of the companies, the market or the investment potential of a particular stock.
Maintenance learning is absolutely essential. It is very similar to light physical exercise that keeps you at a particular level of fitness but does not increase your level of fitness or improve your conditioning in any way.
The second type of learning is growth learning. This is the kind of learning that adds knowledge and skills to your repertoire that you did not have before. For example, if you decide to learn to speak Spanish so that you can expand your business opportunities into the Hispanic market, every word, phrase and sentence that you learn is a form of growth learning. Growth learning helps you expand your mind and you are acquiring information that you did not have before that enables you to do things that you could not do before.
Some of the very best thinkers in the world today are producing some of the very best material and ideas that you can use for continuous education and to help you expand your mind. You can acquire this information and strive for lifelong learning by just reaching out your hand and picking it up in the form of books, articles, tapes and courses.
The third type of learning is called shock learning. This is where something happens that contradicts or reverses a piece of knowledge or understanding that you already have. Shock learning can be extremely valuable if you act upon it. Peter Drucker, in his book Innovation and Entrepreneurship, says that the primary sources of innovation in a company are the unexpected success or the unexpected failure. Something happens that is completely inconsistent with the expectations, with what should have happened.
This “shock” can give you insights that can enable you to either take advantage of a major change in the marketplace or guard against a serious reversal.
Unfortunately, most people are creatures of habit. When something happens that is completely unexpected, they choose to ignore it in favor of the old information with which they are more comfortable.
Knowledge is the primary source of value in our world today and your ability to expand your mind and devote yourself to lifelong learning is the key to breaking any success barriers that may be in front of you.
I hope you are making room for continuous education in your life. Please feel free to share your tips on lifelong learning and how you expand your mind on a daily basis!