Lifelong Learning: Essential in These Turbulent Times

Today’s economy is tough.  Whether you work for a company, or are an entrepreneur, success is becoming more and more elusive.  That’s why I wrote Straight Talk for Success.  In Straight Talk, I discuss the five keys to creating a successful life and career: 1) Self Confidence; 2) Positive Personal Impact; 3) Outstanding Performance; 4) Dynamic Communication; and 5) Interpersonal Competence.

I live and breathe this stuff.  I am always on the lookout for useful information to pass on to readers of this blog.  Last Saturday I was at the theatre.  We saw “The Drowsy Chaperone,” a very clever and well done play.  During its Broadway run, it won a couple of Tony Awards – but that’s not what I want to discuss here.

As I was paging through the program prior to the beginning of the performance, I can across an ad for Jones International University – the first university to exist 100% on line.   The ad had a quote from the founder, Glenn R. Jones.

“Lifelong learning is no longer discretionary but essential for people to scramble to bolster their credentials in a volatile marketplace.”

Lifelong learning, along with setting and achieving high goals and personal organization, is one of the three keys to Outstanding Performance.  I am a huge believer in lifelong education.  In my mind, a day in which you haven’t learned at least one new thing is a wasted day. 

Lifelong learning is key to not only becoming an outstanding performer, but to becoming a career and life success.  As Abraham Lincoln once said, “I don’t think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday.”

I found a great article on lifelong learning by Scott Young on Lifehack.org called 15 Steps to Cultivate Lifelong Learning.  Here are some of the points he makes…

• Make lifelong learning a priority
• Always have a book.
• Keep a “To Learn” list.
• Cultivate intellectual friends.
• Teach others.
• Learn in groups.
• Unlearn assumptions.
• Find a job that encourages learning.
• Spend the first 15 minutes of your day learning.

I would like to add a few other points here:

• Volunteer your time.  Help others.
• Read blogs (especially this one).
• Comment on blog posts.

I really like Scott’s first point. He says…

“Few external forces are going to persuade you to learn. The desire has to come from within. Once you decide you want to make lifelong learning a habit, it is up to you to make it a priority in your life.”

I agree.  You have to choose to make lifelong learning a priority, or you will not spend the time necessary.  It’s like exercise.  If it’s not a priority, you are likely to not do it.

The common sense point is simple.  Lifelong learning is one of the keys to becoming an outstanding performer.  Outstanding performance is one of the keys to success in your life and career.  There are many ways to keep learning.  Choose one or two and make the most of them.  If you make learning a priority in your life, you will succeed.

That’s my take on lifelong learning and success.  What’s yours?  Please leave a comment.  Tell us about what you do to keep on learning.  I appreciate all of your comments.  As always, thanks for reading.

Bud

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