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It’s no exaggeration to say that I truly believe one of the core reasons we are all here on this planet is to learn. As humans, we have been endowed with the amazing gift of intellect. To squander that is, in my opinion, the height of arrogance.
As a corporate trainer, I’ve built my career on this love of learning, and I’m fortunate enough to contribute to the learning of others each and every day.
But alas, my love is not shared by all.
In truth, I don’t believe many people (if any) actually disdain the idea of learning itself. However, many people don’t value as I do. They don’t make the time for it. They don’t view it as something to be welcomed and sought after, prioritized and treasured.
In the worst cases of all, some people simply feel they have little left to learn.
In terms of career success, there is no bigger albatross.
The day you stop learning is the day your career begins to die.
Sounds dramatic, doesn’t it? But it really is true.
No matter your age, experience level, or professional status, lifelong learning is the most essential ingredient for success. The world is constantly changing and evolving. If you’re not keeping up, you’re falling behind.
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No matter how much you know today, you can always find deep wells of ignorance tomorrow.
I am fascinated by the things I don’t know. Every day it seems, I stumble into worlds I never knew existed—enormous sub-cultures that thrive online and all around me. And yet, up until the moment I find them, they never existed in my world.
When we keep our eyes open and our minds curious, we uncover layer upon layer of new information, exciting ideas, and powerful groups of people doing amazing things.
That’s what inspires me.
Of course, with so much available to us at our fingertips, it’s also easy to get overwhelmed and trapped in rabbit holes that lead to counter-productive ends. I’ve learned, over the years, to focus my curiosity on areas of learning that pull me toward my personal and professional goals, that lift me up and challenge me in the most positive ways.
I’ve also realized that “learning” on its own isn’t what really counts. It’s what you do with that knowledge that matters.
All too often, people ask me if it’s worthwhile to attain a specific certification or take an expensive course to get ahead at work.
My answer is always the same: If you have the time and financial means, there is rarely a drawback to expanding your horizons through education. However, you should never do it with the sole intention of demanding a higher salary or promotion based on the shiny certificate you’ll possess when completed.
The fact that you finished a course or earned a certificate, in most cases, isn’t what earns you the rewards.
Rewards come with the extended value you deliver as a result of the learning.
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As a career-minded professional, I hope you’ll embrace the idea that learning is never “done.”
I hope you’ll indulge an insatiable curiosity and approach life and work with a “beginners mind” regardless of your expertise.
I hope you’ll find (if you haven’t already) that the joy of personal growth is reason enough for engaging in educational activities.
And I hope that, ultimately, you’re able to use your amazing ever-expanding intellect to do more, achieve more, and contribute more in the workplace with each passing day.
In doing so, I believe you’ll find that you get more out of it as well.