Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Value of Continuous Learning

Jack Welsh said it best "Change before you have to." Once you stop learning, you stand still while everything around you is changing.

Continuous learning is a part of everyone's life.  Whether it's a hobby, education, relationships; there is value in applying yourself to learning.  One way to do this is to set a goal on something you would like to get better at or understand differently.  My perspective on learning has changed over the years.  It used to be very simple: I want to learn something, I study it and I learn it.  Then I move on to the next thing I want to learn.  How about changing the way you do things, even how you view things?  This is not so black and white at times and definately not easy.  Opening up your perspective is a way of learning about yourself and about others.  It is an actualization process.  I sometimes open up discussions with someone who may view things differently than me.  After the discussion, I either have a sense of whether I stand even more firm as a result or whether or not I can be flexible on this issue because I may not have considered the opposing side's valid arguements.  By engaging with others, I learn more. 

I have heard many people say, "It's who you know."  But then that's too narrow.  The only people that survive with this thinking are those who make "friends."  I used to think "It's what you know."  But then that's also narrow.  You put yourself in a vacuum and limit your ability to learn from others.  Now I think: It's who you know, what you know and who knows you.  You can apply your knowledge, make connections and still be an individual.

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