The most important and effective type of learning is one that is self-motivated. The knowledge and skills you acquire through education by your choice and effort are yours for life. Nobody can steal them from you. The mastery of a skill or a subject and the wisdom to use it are exquisitely satisfying. Learning is the continuous process of becoming who you are. Every time you learn something new, you change and grow as a person. From your birth to your death, you learn countless skills which you use and perform daily and automatically. You learn to walk, to talk, to read, to think critically, to get along with other people, to be creative, to cook, to drive and to run a business. Learning to make decisions and solve problems are competencies you need to develop throughout your life. Your effectiveness as a human being and your stature as a person have a direct relationship on the number of skills you have mastered and that you use daily in your job and in your life.
The key to work in the future and to remain marketable will be up-to-date skills, knowledge and information. In the next decade, we are going to be swamped by the tidal wave of technology. Nearly half the jobs created will require post-secondary education and computer literacy. For most people just to get a job they want will require between 15 to 20 years of formal education. By contrast, the number of jobs requiring less than a high school education is rapidly declining. Everybody understands the importance of education, training and skill development. If you want to have a good paying job and improve your standard of living, you need to be ready and willing to learn and adapt to the reality of the marketplace. Take full responsibility to seek every opportunity to further your education, to strengthen your areas of weakness through appropriate training and to focus your energy on marketable skills.
The admission of your ignorance is the first step in improving your education. Pretending to have knowledge of a subject is far worse than admitting your ignorance and being willing to learn it. Don’t hesitate to ask questions even at the risk of revealing your ignorance. It’s the best and most direct way of learning and growing. Always start by revealing to your teacher at what level of knowledge or skill you are at. If you want to learn how to use the computer or how to access the internet, admit your ignorance or let your teacher know what level you are at. It is impossible to bypass and shortcut the learning process. Many people are tempted to seek a shortcut to the learning process. Most of the time, this will result in frustration and confusion. If you are just starting to play tennis, it makes no sense for you to start lessons at the advanced level right away. In any area of self-improvement, you have to be willing to take one step at a time, be patient and put in the necessary effort and discipline.
If you did not have, or missed the opportunity for, a good education, you can still learn many things and skills you need to have a meaningful and productive life. Apart from the formal education system, you should also be ready and willing to learn from everyone and anyone. In any interaction, the other person forms part of your current learning experience and vice versa. When you are truly ready the teachers will appear. Reach out and find the right people with the right resources to help you. Prepare yourself and understand that there is no shortcut in the learning process. There is always some room for new input and for improvement. Every person you encounter in your lifetime has the potential to teach you something. If your outlook on life is positive, you will have a high level of readiness to learn and to grow. As a student you know that everyone is in some way your teacher and has something to offer you. Once you are ready and willing, you will find teachers everywhere. A wise teacher leads you to the threshold of your own mind and potential.
If you come upon something which or someone who could show you a better way to live, be ready and willing to learn. Your teacher might be a book, a motivational tape, a magazine article, a friend, a religious leader, a child, a thought that is there accidentally at the right time and place. Sometimes you have to seek the teachers and the resources too. Some of these resources include further education such as vocational courses, workshops, seminars, colleges or universities. You can also acquire and develop new, complex social skills by studying successful role models. It helps to observe and learn from others who are doing what you would like to do or who have qualities that you desire. Be humble so that you can accept and acquire the wisdom and understanding of others. Learn to listen, to evaluate and to use the wisdom, experience and expertise of others. Try to break up complicated concepts and problems into simpler units that you can understand and master. Realize that everyone had to learn from someone else.
Extract from my book: Become your best.