Commit yourself to lifelong learning. The most valuable asset you will ever have is your mind and what you put into it” –Brian Tracy
Continuous learning is critical in the development of highly productive human resource. Consequently, many world class business entities invest in the provision of continual training opportunities for employees by sponsoring employees who desire to pursue certain industry and career relevant courses. These are usually intended to help employees keep abreast with industry trends, obtain new skill-set and high value information, and help sharpen their skills and competences. That said however, employees have a crucial role to play and ought to personally commit to continuous learning, with or without support from the organisation with which they work.
How can this be accomplished? Well, this write-up will show you how, and will challenge you to prioritise continuous learning in your career pursuits.
Reading makes a difference
As a student still pursuing a Higher National Diploma in Marketing in one of the Nation`s Polytechnics, We had just completed our examinations but I had chosen to remain in a rented apartment that was close to campus. My friend, who also happened to be my roommate, chanced upon me reading a book, and he passed a comment that has stayed with me till date. He remarked, “How come we just completed our papers but you are still reading? Aren’t you tired of reading?” As far as he was concerned, once we were done with our examinations for that semester, our brains should be allowed to rest, at least for the duration of the holidays. Sadly, such is the mindset of many; they simply do not think they need to read or acquire up-to-date knowledge relevant to their industry and career, yet there is so much to be learnt if employers and employees alike will make some time to read good books, magazines, newspaper publications and other reading resources.
As a matter of fact, in this day and age, information about all kinds of topics, and access to the thoughts and ideas of some of the most erudite minds abound on the internet and on several platforms. The sad reality is that rather than capitalise on these wide variety of opportunities to broaden our scope and knowledge base, some use these avenues for nefarious and counter-productive ends.
Do you know that some of the world’s phenomenal achievers are voracious readers? Talk of John Maxwell, Warren Buffet and Bill Gates. If you are privileged to have acquired the ability to read, it is about time you made the most of it. Napoleon Hill, the best selling author of “Think and grow rich” makes a critical point when he noted, “The person who stops studying merely because he has finished school is forever hopelessly doomed to mediocrity, no matter what may be his calling. The way of success is the way of continuous pursuit of knowledge.”
Accessing non-reading resources makes a difference
Continuous learning is not limited to the “printed page” (as in reading). Make time to attend industry/career relevant seminars and conferences. Interact with industry players whenever and wherever possible. Surf the internet for videos and audios that have a bearing on your chosen career. Some highly productive professionals have shared their experiences of how they acquired new skills and high value content via sites such as YouTube. I know of people who learned new recipes and others who learnt computer programming on the internet, which has made a world of difference in their professions. The good news is that you can also access high value content for free on the Internet.
The inspiring story of a voluntary service person
I was recruited as a voluntary service person a few months after I was through with my National Service, hence, I was posted to a Junior High School where I met David, also a voluntary service person, and was privileged to work closely with him. He was exceptional; one committed to learning new things as long as they related to his role (s). A case in point had to do with the terminal reporting system of the school. The filling of these reports were manually done and this had been the case for years. This practice was slow, demanding and time consuming so David came up with a brilliant idea; he will prospect for and educate himself on the usage of a students` terminal reporting software that would in time replace the manual filling of the report forms. With time, David developed the report form template and had become conversant with the relevant procedures required for optimal usage of the software, making the manual filling of the student report forms with its associated delays and drudgery a thing of the past. This was an employee who took his work so seriously that he was willing to acquire new knowledge and skill to be of better service to the institution he worked with. It brings to mind what Brian Tracy once stated: “You can learn anything you need to learn to achieve any goal you can set for yourself, there are no limits.”
Henry L. Doherty wisely advised, “Be a student so long as you still have something to learn, and this will mean all your life.” Irrespective of whatever field of endeavour you may be engaged in, it would be in your best interest to subject yourself to the discipline of continuous learning.
Do not limit yourself to only your area of expertise; read wide. As you engage with books and other reading resources, you will be engaging with ideas that could make a world of difference in your career.
By Daniel Dela Dunoo
(Professional marketer, Freelance writer)
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com