Success and Lifelong Learning

Outstanding performance is one of the keys to career and life success that I discuss in Straight Talk for Success and 42 Rules to Jumpstart Your Professional Success.  If you want to become an outstanding performer, you need to do three things.  First, stay on top of your game by becoming a lifelong learner.  Second, set high goals and do whatever it takes to achieve them.  Third, get organized.  Manage your time, life and stress well.

Recently Forbes.com did a piece on lifelong learning.  While the author, Sangeeth Varghese, was focusing on leaders, he presents some common sense advice that is relevant to anyone interested in creating a successful life and career.

Here’s part of what he has to say…

Learning is like the weather. Everybody talks about it, but nobody does much about it. True leaders, though, can never be switched off to learning opportunities. As John F. Kennedy wrote in a speech he was to give the day he was assassinated, “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.”

Sangeeth suggests that we should all go through life with “permanent learner’s permit.”  He suggests that “we should use our minds to learn from even the most mundane things in life, and thereby they grow unceasingly.”

He suggests three ways to become a lifelong learner.

• Learn constantly
• Concentrate to learn
• Learn through repetition and review

Constant learning is the conscious attempt to learn at every waking moment.  Use down time to think about the information you’ve taken in recently, and to figure out how to use in to advance your life and career.  Even though I have written four books about career and life success and post to this blog five days a week, I keep learning about success.  My writing creates a situation in which I am constantly thinking about and finding new sources of information about success.  This in turn has led me to a deeper, richer understanding of how to become a personal and professional success.  I share that knowledge in these posts and my books.  By focusing on success constantly, I have become more knowledgeable about it.

Focus and concentration are two important keys to learning.  The more you focus and concentrate on a problem or situation, the better you will learn and be able to use the lessons gained from solving the problem in the future.

Finally, you learn from repetition and review.  The more you look at a subject from a variety of perspectives, the more you will learn about it.  Above, I used an example of how I am constantly learning about success from my writing.  I consciously choose to read and listen to what all sorts of people have to say about success.  As a result I find that the more I learn about career and life success, the more there is to know.  I stay alert – always looking for information that is in any way related to success.  You’d be surprised at the unusual places where I find it.  For example I found a great piece of advice on self confidence from Wally Amos in the Costco Connection magazine.  I blogged about it a couple of days ago.  You can see that post here.

Sangeeth concludes his article in Forbes.com with what he calls a Leadership Takeaway. 

Leaders never let their minds shut down. Whatever you are doing at any given moment — watching the news, working on a business deal, talking to a friend, reading this article — give it your full attention, and keep on learning.

That’s some common sense!

The common sense point here is simple.  Successful people are outstanding performers.  Outstanding performers stay on top of their game because they are lifelong learners.  Lifelong learners share three traits in common.  They learn continuously.  They use their power of concentration to learn.  They learn through repetition and review.  You can become an effective lifelong learner by tuning in to the world around you.  Keep your learner’s permit up to date.  Give your full attention to what you are doing.  You’ll be surprised at how much you learn.

That’s my take on lifelong learning and success.  What’s yours?  Please leave a comment sharing your thoughts with us.  As always, thanks for reading.

Bud

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