My mother used to tell me that I was very inquisitive when I was little. And like all children, I used to always ask “Why?” all the time. Why does water rise? Why do tigers have such sharp teeth? Why is it only raining here?
When you’re young, there’s an excitement about learning. There’s this natural curiosity because everything is new. However, when we become adults, life changes quite a bit. There are many new, useful and interesting things to learn, but after a certain age learning loses its luster. Or we’re simply told not to ask why or question things.
Now when I have to figure something out or deal with a new problem that requires more time to access and understand, I feel frustrated instead of excited.
And therein lies the problem. With already so much to juggle in our daily lives, how can we manage to learn more?
The best thing to do is to start off by figuring out the right skill to learn. It could be getting a certificate, becoming up-to-date with the latest technologies, getting extra training or obtaining a degree.
No matter what, there has to be some value or importance for broadening your horizons. Don’t be afraid to ask your boss about supporting you in your new goals. A good company will want to invest and nurture your new desire to further yourself and then later benefit from your new skills.
You need to find the time to learn, practice, make mistakes and go through the natural process of learning. Trying to find blocks of time in your busy schedule will be necessary. I suggest you sit down and outline your schedule in detail to understand where you have a chance to get some time to learn.
If you can eliminate some extracurricular activities or outsource certain things that are not contributing toward accomplishing more important goals, this can be a big help. If you’re looking at your schedule and there’s no time to spare because your time is committed to genuinely important things, you may want to re-evaluate the new skill you’re trying to learn. But remember, each activity on your schedule has to be evaluated in an objective manner. You have to be honest with yourself to see if each activity in your daily routine is supporting your highest priorities.
You also have to beware of distractions that are lurking everywhere that steals your attention. Your guard has to be up, and you have to be vigilant in protecting your time for what’s more important. You may want to take a break after a hard day, but watching television for a half-hour can suddenly turn into the entire evening or checking Facebook for a few minutes can easily become a time-suck and turn into an hour or five!
It’s important to know your common pitfalls and make a commitment not to waste time on things that are not helping you reach your goals. There are apps that close apps and emails so you simply can’t surpass the time allotted.
When trying something new, you’re not going to understand as much as you would like to initially. There’s a learning curve you have to account for, and if you understand that then facing difficulties becomes less intimidating.
With discipline and effort come results. Once you see that your results are leading you to your goal, you’ll be more motivated to continue. Progress is what motivates people to stay the course.
Continuously working on the same thing can make our perspective on work seem very tedious and mundane. If this happens, then now is the perfect time to shake things up and find something new to learn to broaden your view of work.
I still don’t ask “Why?” as much as I used to, but it may not be a bad idea to be a bit more curious about how I do my work and come to decisions about what I should do in my life.
Now when I ask “Why?” I often have to come up with the answer myself. But the process of learning and growing as a person is so meaningful and beneficial, that I plan to be a continuous learner for life.
Does your organization promote or pay for continuous learning? Have you taken advantage of it? Why or why not?
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