Competence is one of the four keys to career and life success. I discuss it in Success Tweets and several other of my books: Straight Talk for Success, Your Success GPS, 42 Rules to Jumpstart Your Professional Success. If you want to succeed you need to develop four basic, but important competencies:
- Creating positive personal impact
- Becoming a consistently high performer
- Dynamic communication skills
- Becoming interpersonally competent
If you want to become an outstanding performer, you need to become a lifelong learner. The other day, I came across a great quote from Louis L’Amour, the great American writer of stories about the old west. I think this quote captures the essence of lifelong learning…
“There will come a time when you believe everything is finished. That will be the beginning.”
I know a lot about career and life success. I’ve written several books on it. I give lots of talks about it. I’ve coached hundreds of people – helping them build the life and career success they want and deserve. I write this blog. At one point, I thought I knew it all.
And you know what? Every time I write about life and career success, every time I speak about it, every time I coach someone offering my career advice, I gain a deeper understanding of what it takes to create life and career success
I begin anew every day, doing whatever I can to learn about life and career success so I can pass on this knowledge and wisdom to others. I choose to keep learning. So should you. Pay attention here – this is solid career advice. I’ve learned if you don’t keep learning, you don’t stand still, you fall behind in the game of life. I’ve also learned what I learned after I knew it all was some of the best and most important of my learnings.
Thomas Carlyle once said, “What we become depends on what we read after all of the professors have finished with us. The greatest university of all is a collection of books.” He lived in the 19th century. If he were alive today, he might have amended his statement to say, “Books and the internet are the greatest university of all.” Today, so many of the great books, as well as other life and career success information, are available on line. The Internet is a great way to access this information. The important thing is to keep learning – how you do it and where you get your information is secondary.
I have a huge collection of books on a variety of subjects. These books are the first place I turn when I am looking for information to post on my blog, when I am working with my career success coach clients, when I am preparing a speech and when I am designing a training program. When I can’t find what I’m looking for in my books, I go on line.
My best common sense suggestion for becoming a lifelong learner is simple. Read. Read technical journals. Read trade magazines. Read business publications like The Wall Street Journal, Business Week, Fortune and Forbes. If you think they’re too stodgy, read Fast Company.
Read your company’s annual report. Read your competitors’ annual reports. Read your local newspaper and The New York Times. Read news magazines like Newsweek and Time. Read business and industry blogs. Read e-zines and e-books. Read books. Reading is the best way to stay up with what’s happening in business, in your industry and in the world.
There are other things you can do to keep learning. Attend seminars. Join the major groups or trade associations for your industry. Attend their meetings and participate. Volunteer for committee work. Become known locally in your field. Take a class at your local university. Use your company’s tuition reimbursement program to get a free undergraduate or Masters degree.
Your education doesn’t stop when you graduate from college or get an MBA, it begins anew. There are many ways to keep learning. Decide which ones work for you, and then follow through. Outstanding performers are competent. They stay competent because they are lifelong learners.
I agree with Albert Einstein who said…
“Wisdom is not a product of schooling but of the lifelong learning attempt to acquire it.”
The common sense career success point here is simple. Successful people are outstanding performers. Outstanding performers are lifelong learners. They follow the career advice in tweet 81 in Success Tweets, “Become a lifelong learner. The half-life of knowledge is rapidly diminishing. Staying in the same place is the same as going backward.”
Lifelong learning is really important to creating the successful life and career you want and deserve. Remember what Louis L’Amour says, “There will come a time when you believe everything is finished. That will be the beginning.”
Treat each new day as an opportunity to learn. Stay open to new people and new ideas. If you do this, you’ll come to realize you are never finished learning and what you learn after you know it all is the most valuable knowledge you’ll develop.
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