There are many paths to success, but there is a common thread among them all: learning.
The value of being a lifelong learner is immeasurable. We tend to forget this outside of the most obvious situations: at work or in school. What we all need to understand is that there is knowledge to be uncovered everywhere.
For example, we’ve all been to that event or gathering that we wish was over before it began. More often than not, we post up in a corner and keep to ourselves, watching the seconds tick by.
The alternative, of course, is to engage and converse with others, but we don’t. Maybe we think we have no common ground. Maybe they’re not interesting. Maybe we think it’s a waste of time. Except it isn’t.
There is something to learn from everyone and everything. No two people are alike, much like no two experiences will ever be the same – there is constantly knowledge to be gained in every situation.
This perspective on learning doesn’t just happen though, it comes from a mindset that is focused on knowledge.
Either you think you know it all and everyone is stupid or you are humble enough to know that everyone and everything has a lesson to offer.
Every man I meet is my master in some point, and in that I learn of him. Ralph Waldo Emerson
The key to such a perspective is simple: always think like a student. Here’s what that type of mindset looks like.
1. Every person has a lesson worth learning
As out of place as you may feel, as overconfident you may be, there’s always something to learn from every individual.
Every person is unique and in that, they all have experienced or mastered something that you haven’t. Learning about those things are valuable, no matter your general feelings.
Start discussions with other people and seek out the nuggets of wisdom they all hold.
2. Interesting is just a matter of perspective
It can be easy to discount a subject as boring. Perhaps it’s just in the opposite domain of what you’re interested in. Perhaps the material is mind-numbingly dry. Whatever it is, it’s important not to discount it too quickly.
If you dig deep enough into any subject, what was once boring, can suddenly become intriguing. The key is to simply find the relationship between the subject and your interests that spark your curiosity.
The subject may be a perfect analogy related to what you already do. Or maybe there’s an idea in that subject that will unlock new ideas and innovations in your domain. You never know when such connections may be formed.
The point is that everything can be interesting, you just need to dig a little to uncover it.
3. Learning is a lifelong endeavor
Finally, we all need to embrace the fact that learning is a lifelong deal. It’s not just something we should do in school or in training, rather it should be on a daily basis.
Life experiences, arguments, good times, tragedy, they are all full of lessons just waiting to be acknowledged.
The world is full of knowledge, so be receptive to what it has to offer. Learning is not a phase of life, it is life.
The capacity to learn is a gift; The ability to learn is a skill; The willingness to learn is a choice.Brian Herbert
The key to all of this is the mindset. If we view the world from the perspective of a student, we can be much more accepting to new ideas and information, as we encounter it.
So when you’re at a gathering that you don’t care for, engage in conversations, you may be surprised what you discover. When you pick up a book to read, try out a subject you’d never explore. When you have free time, chase novel experiences.
Seek out opportunities for learning and be attentive to the lessons they all provide.
Always think like a student.
P.S. don’t forget to vote!