Want Career Success? Become a Lifelong Learner

I have never been a big fan of manifesting as exemplified in The Secret – the book or the movie — because I think it oversimplifies the concept of life and career success.  In case you’re not familiar with the concept of manifesting or The Secret, here is what an internet search on The Secret turned up…

  • Ask – You must know what you want. I mean, really know what you want. The universe can’t deliver without first knowing what it is that you want to have manifested into your life.
  • Believe – You need to truly believe that what you are asking for will become yours. Doubts need to be pushed away. The idea that failure is a possibility will mess up the delivery.
  • Receive – It is important that you become an active player in reaching your goals. When opportunity comes your way you must not hesitate. Grab the brass ring when it appears.

I always thought that there is a pesky little step between Believe and Receive – and that step is “work hard.”

I was pleased to come across something on manifesting the other day from Yee Shun-Jian of RichGrad.com.  Yee suggests that learning is an important part of working hard….

“So seek and be hungry for new knowledge. Also, make an effort to be amongst people or communities where you can support each other, learn from each other and also share new knowledge that you have found.”

I think that lifelong learning is so important that I devoted five tweets to it in my career advice book Success Tweets.

Tweet 81: Become a lifelong learner. The half-life of knowledge is rapidly diminishing.  Staying in the same place is the same as going backwards.

Tweet 82: Learn faster than the world changes.  In a world that never stops changing, you can never stop learning and growing.

Tweet 83: Master your technical discipline.  Share what you know.  Become the go to person in your discipline in your company.
Tweet 84: Stay up to date in your industry.  Read industry publications.  Know the hot topics for your company, competitors and industry.

Tweet 85: Always be on the lookout for new ideas.  Find opportunities where others see obstacles.

From these quotes, it should be pretty obvious that I believe that learning is an important key to life and career success.  One of my favorite quotes on lifelong learning comes from Louis L’Amour, the great American writer of stories about the old west…

“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 have a new one called Climbing the Corporate Ladder coming out in about a month.  I’ll let you know when it is available.

I give lots of talks about life and career success.  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.  I’ve learned that if you don’t keep learning, you don’t stand still – you fall behind in the game of life.  I’ve also learned that 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 ezines and eBooks.  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 Master’s 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 career success point here is simple common sense.  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 that you are never finished learning and that what you learn after you know it all is the most valuable knowledge you’ll develop.

That’s my career advice on the subject of manifesting and lifelong learning.  What do you think?  Please take a minute to share your thoughts with us in a comment.  As always thanks for reading my daily musings on life and career success.  I really value and appreciate you.

Bud

PS: If you haven’t already done so, please download a free copy of my popular career advice book Success Tweets and its companion piece Success Tweets Explained.  The first gives you 140 bits of career success advice tweet style — in 140 characters or less.  The second is a whopping 390 + pages of career advice explaining each of the common sense tweets in Success Tweets in detail.  Go to http://budurl.com/STExp to claim your free copy.  You’ll also start receiving my daily life and career success quotes.

PPS: I opened a membership site last September.  It’s called My Corporate Climb and is devoted to helping people create career success inside large corporations.  You can find out about the membership site by going to http://www.mycorporateclimb.

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