Continuous learning & why you should engage in it

I had to clean out my bookshelf and guess what I discovered? A bunch of certificates. There’s probably more than 50 there from  various online courses that I have taken over the course of the last decade and probably more than a dozen of classroom trainings that I participated in. Each one of these were either professional or personal developments courses, directly related to the job that I was doing at the time or designed to provide me with the tools that I would need to take on more responsibility, authority in my work. There was a time that I listed ALL the professional courses that I have ever attended on my resume/CV, then came the time when it took up more than a page on its own and I started to leave out the trainings that were irrelevant to the position I was applying for.

 

Why am I talking about this?

 

Because this was something that ANYONE could have done. Over the last decade and a half I have changed more jobs (sometimes within the same company) and more industries (completely different & unrelated) than most people I know. I have also worked with a whole lot of different people and have worked under a lot more bosses than most people I know. A lot of my ex-colleagues ask me what is it that I am doing differently and honestly the only answer that I seem to come up with is that each of us acquires skill sets that can be translated into different jobs in different capacities.

 

How do you go about acquiring those skill sets?

By loving the job you are doing and wanting to be better at it. That was the primary reason I started on online courses.  Most multi-national companies have a LOT of courses on their intranet. There are free online courses from all kinds of universities on all kinds of subjects. A whole depository of learnings, waiting to be acquired, just sitting there at your fingertip. Are you taking advantage of it?

 

 

Will the company you are working for pay you to do these courses outside of your working hours? No.

Will they directly lead you to gain promotions or more money? probably No.

So why should you do it? Because you can AND at the end of the day knowledge is something that no one can take away from you. Everything else is transitory.

 

You can lose your job, your house, money, family, relationships. Everything but what’s inside your head. Everything but what you internalize. The knowledge, the wisdom, the learning, hope, faith, dream … that’s just about all that is left when everything else can be stripped from you. No one can strip you of your character, its shaped over a lifetime and displayed in the choices you make, the language you use, the intonation of your voice, in your actions – conscious and unconscious displays of your inner self.

 

Am I better because I have more certificates?

I do not believe that I have a higher advantage at getting a job because I have more certificates. I believe that I am better because I am open to continuous learning. And I believe that we learn every moment we breathe. If it was about certificates, then I would’ve probably had them framed and hanged in either my office or my home, a testament to my qualifications. But I didn’t because those certificates were not the reason I chose to take those courses.

 

I see people talk about being dissatisfied with their lives, their work, career, family etc. But I see very few actively working on changing that.  Who do you think has a better chance of changing their lot in this life? The endless whiner? Or the active solver? Which group do YOU belong to?

 

While the courses I have taken were open to all the employees of the companies that I have worked for, VERY few actually made the time to do those courses. They did not see any immediate benefits. People were interested in the class-room courses, specially when they were required in their performance appraisals, because they could make the direct link between that and their job. But they were not so interested in the courses that did not have direct correlation. They didn’t have the time, was under too much work pressure, etc. were the usual excuses. Funny thing is you would find these same people playing online games for hours after work, sometimes during work and on the weekends. They could have easily used that time to gain knowledge online but they didn’t. They chose to spend it instead on mindless games. Their priorities were obviously in the wrong place or maybe they were not prioritizing at all.

 

So what are you doing with your time? what are you priorities? are you helping yourself? or just whining?

 

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Posted on May 11, 2013, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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