It really never stops.
From the moment we are born, we learn. We learn how to eat, we learn how to speak, we learn how to walk. Then we learn right from wrong. We learn yes and no. We learn the alphabet and how to read. We learn about ourselves, our passions, our desires, what makes us tick. We learn in school, then we learn for (perhaps) our vocation. We learn on the job. And hopefully, that process never stops.
Those of you who know me will know that I am an advocate of nonstop learning. Learning a language, learning how to cook a meal, learning how to code, learning, learning, learning. I find it vital to learn. To be like a kid and soak it all up as much as possible.
When it comes to the business world, you’ll find that learning gets tough and if you don’t put a system in place, you’ll soon be stagnating as years go by.
In the corporate environment, there were always a number of initiatives that went around that would allow employees to learn, however, realistically many of these programs never benefited the majority of us because we were swamped with work. This was valid for me as well as many of my team members. Nonetheless, I always encouraged employees to take time to develop. To take a course, to take a few hours off and really progress in an area they felt, or we discussed, would potentially help them in their careers. It often is tough. Especially when you are in a business environment that doesn’t allow you to catch your breath. However, I believe that a majority of folks that worked in my teams over the years felt the fact that I supported and stood firm towards upper management when it came to the development of employees.
I, for the most part, often made a conscious choice not to take time away from my work schedule for development unless it was a requirement. I had jam-packed days and email overload, but that didn’t mean that I never learned. I did a lot of learning on each job (learning by doing as they say), and a lot of learning in my free time. Whether that was basic coding, to cooking, to language skills, etc.
It’s about you, not them.
You see the problem, especially when you get out of the school system and become part of the workforce, is that the notion of actual textbook learning stops ( to a degree). Depending on your job, and the work environment, a majority of us get caught up in our jobs. Making progress, getting results, presenting, speaking, etc. And in this hustle and bustle of work life, we don’t take the time to develop and hone our skills as much as we should. Like when we were children and the world was our canvas.
We begin filtering and selecting things that potentially may help increase our income rather than developing ourselves as a whole. That said, learning is about the choices you make and when/how you make them. When you choose to learn, you should choose as to what you truly desire. Remember, learning is all about you, not about them.
It’s not about your parents, it’s not about your boss or the company you work for. It’s not about living up to the standards of society. You learn what you want to learn. The only thing I ask is that you remain a sponge until your very last breath.
Learn what you can
I can give you loads of examples where learning was a key part of my life.
- Back in school, I was in A.P. classes. My classmates were way beyond me, but that challenge of being able to participate and interact with them, allowed me to upskill my skills and learn certain subjects on a more intense scale.
- I loved watching Jamie Oliver and a variety of other books and reading up on dishes, watching my mom and others, so that I would be able to feed myself or others when the time came.
- My dad taught me how to fix bikes from a young age and that has come in handy very often.
The list goes on, and I believe the same goes for you. Learn what you can, whenever you can. I’ve learned from teachers and schooling, my parents and siblings, my wife, employees, mentors, friends, tv, books, etc. Progress yourself in a multitude of areas and really soak up and in as much as you can. You never know when that piece of knowledge may come in handy.
With all that said, another chapter in my life starts as I tackle the next step in my professional learning in obtaining a Masters degree. For one, it’s not in my native language, and two it’ll be challenging considering my schedule and environment, but that all then comes down to setting a goal and putting the right process in place.
The point of this post is to really encourage you to learn, learn, learn. Get certificates, sign up for free courses, learn a language, meet other cultures and get to know people, read a book, the possibilities are endless. However, do not become a vegetable and get caught up in watching useless TV shows all day, every day. Don’t sleep hours on end, just for the sake of sleeping. Don’t get caught in the thinking that you know it all, or that your way is the only way. Be open to what the world has to offer. There are so many things in daily life that will teach you something new.
Learn, learn, learn.