If you want to be the best version of yourself, don’t stop learning. If you do not continue to learn, the world will pass you by.  One of the top ten traits of a highly effective leader is to be a lifelong learner.  John F. Kennedy wrote, “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.”

I have made learning part of my DNA.  In my mid-30s, after completing my master’s degree, I told myself I was finished studying.  Looking back I know that was a not a smart conclusion.  Fortunately, after about 60 days, I realized that learning is a lifetime pursuit.

A great example of a lifelong learner is my Dad. He is 82 years old and still works full time as an insurance agent. For the past two years, he has been the #2 salesperson in a company of over 9,000 people. He is not happy to be #2, so is always asking questions and trying to learn how to become better. It is my Dad’s personality to search for ways to improve.

The brain is like a muscle that needs regular exercise.  When muscles are inactive, they can atrophy.  The same is true with our brain; we need to exercise our brain to keep it working properly.

A 2016 Pew Research Center Report showed that 36% of working adults have taken a course or pursued continuing education to gain more knowledge in their field. We live in a world that is in a constant state of change and in order to stay relevant; one must always be learning.

A good leader doesn’t assume they know everything.  Good leaders take time to evaluate weakness to see where they could use some extra help.  Years ago, I took a speed reading class to improve my reading and comprehension.  I also spend several hours a week learning how to stay relative in the social media world.   Maybe for you, it is communication skills or a gap in knowledge for your job.

“You can tell you’re on the road to success; it’s uphill all the way.”  – Paul Harvey

Things I do to continue to grow:

Read books.

Over the past 30 years, I have read over 1500 books.  Check out my resources page to see books I recommend.  Make it a priority to implement what you learn.

Continue learning.

Participate in courses, seminars, and workshops. Listen to podcasts, read blogs and leadership magazines. Some of my favorites:

Mentors.

Hang out with people who challenge you to grow (other life-long learners).  Don’t surround yourself with “yes” people, but people who are willing to challenge you.

Learn from experience.

Always be gathering information.  Learn from your past failures or failures of others.  Don’t mindlessly go through your day and accomplish tasks, always be in learning mode.

Be teachable.

View everyone you come in contact with as someone who can teach you something. Teachable people are open and looking for opportunities to learn from others.  Also be willing to accept feedback and grow from the information.

 

Begin today! Commit this month to read one book and read one blog each week. Whether you are 20, 50, or 82; don’t stop learning!