This week on Episode 098 of Productivity Paradox, we’re kicking off a longer discussion about identifying and setting goals that will help us reach the biggest dreams we’ve been putting off for far too long…
So today, I want to dial in on that idea just a little bit and talk about the one thing that we can do right away that will set us up for the success that we want to see in the future: and that is to keep learning.
When you look at the most successful people in the world, one characteristic that they all seem to share is a passion for learning (for growing). Nearly all of the most successful entrepreneurs, entertainers, and so on are committed to deepening their knowledge of their craft and of their understanding of the world. Knowledge, after all, is a powerful thing to cultivate.
With that in mind, it’s important to note that when it comes to the big goals and dreams that we set out to achieve… it’s nearly impossible to get anywhere without expanding on our existing skill set.
So, with that in mind, I want to share just a few ways that you can set yourself up to be a lifelong learner so that you can experience the success you imagine for yourself in the future.
Let’s get started!
What is most important to you? Business? Scientific progress? Coaching? Productivity? What outcomes would you like to see? Do you want to be a better leader? Connect with young adults?
These are all great questions to ask yourself when developing your lifelong learning journey. By determining your passions (and visualizing your desired outcomes), you can get a handle on what a learning path for yourself might look like. You can decide what you’re going to study, how you’re going to study it, and determine the best resources to help you along the way.
If you have specific goals in mind—wonderful! Create a learning chart for yourself that easily aligns with those goals. The more fine-tuning you’re able to lend your learning plan, the better.
Maybe you want to learn all that you can about business, because your overall goal is to start your own business. Or perhaps, you want to become a published author someday, so you want to learn all that there is to know about writing.
You see where this is going, right?
The most successful people are well-versed in the details of their craft, and they make it a point to keep themselves up-to-date as much as possible.
Once you know the subject, topic, or idea that you want to dive deeper into, it’s important that you establish a series of goals that will constantly push you toward the deeper knowledge that you want to gain on your subject.
If your goal is to become a writer, for example, then it’s probably best that you first learn to read a lot so that you can study the craft of other writers that you wish to be like. An example of your reading objectives could look something like this:
Once you have an idea in mind about what you want to focus on, set a specific learning goal for yourself (i.e. reading a specific # of books each year; etc.) and break that goal into smaller, bite-sized pieces. Use those bite-sized goals as stepping stones that will bring you closer and closer to the bigger picture (your learning plan), and celebrate your achievements along the way!
When it comes to learning resources available, the time to cultivate a lifelong learning habit has never been better. No matter the topic, from the craft of writing to the ethics of business, there are hundreds of thousands of resources across a wide variety of platforms just waiting to be discovered and put to good use.
Ultimately, this bodes well for you as a lifelong learner, depending on your circumstances and your learning style. If you travel a lot, for example, then seeking out audio books or podcasts to listen to while you’re on-the-go may be a viable option for you in regard to your learning plan. If you’re a visual learner, then YouTube or online video classes that offer tutorials may be a great bet for you on your journey, as well! The possibilities here are virtually endless.
Variety is the spice of life, as they say, and that is especially true when it comes to carving out your journey as a learner. I encourage you to seek out a multitude of resources that will aid you in deepening your knowledge of your subject(s), and fill in your day with plenty of opportunity to dive into your craft… You might be surprised at how quickly your new lifelong learning habit sticks!
Intention is key when it comes to cultivating a new habit, and that is especially true when it comes to a quest for higher knowledge. Without being intentional about how we’re spending our time, there’s a good chance that we run the risk of lesser tasks or items on our plate taking over our schedule completely.
Scheduling is imperative.
It’s important that we make the effort to carve some time every day for learning. The best part about this is that this time block does not need to be huge at all—even just 15 minutes a day is a great start! Decide when and where you’re going to do it, whether that’s during your lunch break at work, on your commute (podcasts are great for that), or during some downtime that you have after dinner is done and the kids are in bed…
Wherever you can schedule in your time to learn, put that block of time on your calendar and stick to it. If you need to give yourself a little bit of a boost to get going, then treat it as you would an appointment with someone!
Make your learning a habit… and success will be sure to follow.
It may sound silly, but here’s a hard truth for you: If you don’t surround yourself with other lifelong learners, then chances are… you won’t be one.
How you spend your time and the people that you spend your time with matters. Period. If your day is filled with negativity (from yourself or from others) then you’ll likely never feel the boost of motivation that you need to get started on your goals in the first place. Remember the old adage, misery loves company? It totally does.
To nip any of your negative habits in the bud, make it a point to seek out other positive learners that are full of passion for their subjects just like yourself. See what happens!
What are some of the topics that you’ve been dying to dive into? What does your lifelong learning plan look like? Share your ideas and experiences with me in the comments below… And head on over to Episode 098 of the podcast for a refresh on the importance of identifying and setting goals so that you can set yourself up for the success you want!