It continues to amaze me how many of us personally invest in financial planners to build financial freedom, trainers to create that perfect body, or meditation teachers for more balance, yet we still fail to personally invest in developing our own mastery.
So many live in a life of stasis – of thinking we know all we need to know. We leave school, complete apprenticeships, get degrees and then stop. The continuous learning piece? Well quite simply it’s lost in a sea of excuses – too hard, no time, where to start, what’s the point!
The world around us is evolving and we need to evolve too
Jobs, businesses, industries and how we work are all changing. We’re living in a world of many adaptive challenges where the problems are complicated, complex and not always clear, where the solutions are multifaceted and where we may not always have immediate answers.
The challenges we’re facing now can’t necessarily be resolved by the solutions that worked before—the world is in a very different place socially, economically, technologically and philosophically.
Read: Learning: A Strategic Weapon
Adaptability, complexity and a need to connect with the right people to do the right work is critical in driving change – and if we don’t at least try and keep up, if we don’t attempt to remain relevant and current – well then we, individually, become defunct and tossed out with the ‘maybe I’ll recycle that later’ pile.
I get that this learning thing is challenging. It forces us out of the comfort zone of knowing what we know; challenges us to get comfortable with being uncomfortable; encourages us to explore and get curious about something new and unknown. It forces us to admit, ‘Hey, you know what, I don’t know how to do this’.
Continuous learning creates the difference
But a life of continuous learning and exploration of what could be, is essential to growth. Knowledge, builds like compound interest and the more you learn the more you’ll grow. It’s your knowledge and skills that will stay with you for a lifetime.
Investing in yourself is the most profitable investment you can make, and it will give you your competitive edge and accelerate your growth personally and professionally, regardless of what’s happening in the economy or around you.
Warren Buffet, American business magnate and philanthropist, says the best investment you can make is one that ‘you can’t beat’— one that can’t be taxed and one that even inflation can’t take away from you. He is a massive advocate of learning, saying:
Ultimately, there’s one investment that supersedes all others: Invest in yourself. Nobody can take away what you’ve got in yourself, and everybody has potential they haven’t used yet.
There is no excuse
Personally, I invest up to 20 per cent of my income a year on personal development and learning. This will include specific courses, event and conference attendance, books and on-line learning and intentional conversations (yep, I book in specific lunch dates with an agenda of discussion points) and debates.
I listen to podcasts and read articles while on the move and have multiple books on the go, from autobiographies to specific subject focus, and make a point of sitting and reading something every single day.
Accelerating your skills and knowledge—learning more—is a self-directed desire and a choice. It’s continuous. Dig deeper. Be more analytical. Ask questions. Be a beginner.
We must keep on growing after all our formal education is done—maybe in actual fact, our real learning starts the day we leave the safety of the formal education system and enter the education that is life.
Where you’re at now and what you’re capable of tomorrow will depend on what you do now and what you learn today. Are you intentional in your learning—to become better, to accelerate yourself and your dreams—or are you just comfortable where you are?
Read also: Intentional Learning: Part 2