Continual Learning

Author: Byron Pulsifer, 2017

The practice of continual learning has to be one of the most important aspects of life. There is much about life that demands adaptation, understanding and reaction but a process of continual learning allows you to respond favourably or adapt to on-going change.

Some of this continual learning occurs naturally through normal
work activity; some occurs from observing or listening to colleagues; and, some is sought out by way of specialized training offered either in the workplace or at on offsite venue.

Past Learning Fades

It is not a matter that we should be satisfied with what we have learned in the past. Take, for example, one's formal education. The world today moves very rapidly with the amount of new knowledge and practices that are changing as each day moves on. If you believe that your education completed many years ago will suffice, you are one of the few thousands that think so. The fact of the matter is this: to believe that old educational qualifications will take you to the end of your career is the same as thinking that the same clothes will be worn for the rest of your life.

Understanding That Learning Does Not Stand Still

The same applies to your understanding of your life experiences thinking that what you understood at the age of twenty-one, for example, will be the same understanding you have of life experiences as you near the end of your time.

Each one of us assimilates information differently but whether you believe it or not, you do intertwine information into your own thinking, beliefs,
attitudes and behavior. The real question here is how you go about the process of learning.

Continual Learning Is Building For The Future

For some, learning on a continuous basis is a little more structured and it is this structure that allows one to keep building useful knowledge is a much more systematic way. The process in a more formal educational way is to involve one in continuous reading in your specialty area, or to attend seminars, or to take part-time advanced courses.

This learning on a continuous basis also means that you refrain, at least to some degree, from attempting to assimilate necessary new knowledge by osmosis. This is to say that you need to take an active role in struggling to learn new information, new systems, new approaches to what was once satisfactory. I expressly meant to use the word 'struggle' for a very good reason, and that reason is that the more
challenging it is, the more you'll internalize and remember the information. In other words, the easy way is not always the best way.

I recently explained the process of 'struggle' to a colleague when they told me that they want things explained to them. What this immediately told me was that this person was attempting to glean over that which would require him to exercise his brain cells. To me, this so-called easy learning is the same as attempting to learn to ride a two wheel bicycle by asking someone to explain how to keep your balance without ever using your bodily mechanisms to experience the sensation.

Personal Growth And Continual Learning

In the realm of personal growth, there is also the continuous learning that occurs in your own control of your own destiny. Some people continue on in the same old ways that they always have and start to wonder why they never seem to be happy or fulfilled. There is a quiet deterioration of the spirit, the excitement that once played upon their mind as they rose each morning. Now, all that is stems from a routine of doing the same old thing every day and every weekend. In these cases, there is no development, no control, no new understanding, or no new action that can lead one out of routine.

Routine is not security unless you can live in a society that never progresses. However, progress is all around each one of us whether we wish to acknowledge it or not. Not a day goes by that there isn't a new discovery of some kind or another; a new way of doing something that either makes the task easier or more proficient; or, the development of other people around you that requires you to exercise a new level of understanding or a new way to build or establish a relationship based on establishing a new base or common base of relationship building. That is all to say that this is akin to being able to discuss the impact of modern day changes to one's life and survival but counting on horse and buggy understanding.

You Are A Model For Continual Learning

Continual learning is a necessary part of self-growth both on a personal and professional level. If you are a parent, this continuous learning is part and parcel of learning what it is you must do to help your children develop to their fullest potential. If you do not grow as a person, how do you expect to be the model that they one day will emulate?

A simple example of this kind of continual development and learning is modeled by what you do with your children. If you sit and read a book to your young children, they are more likely to develop the habit of reading. However, if you only watch television with them or play a computer game with them, reading a book will be a foreign activity. This unfortunate kind of activity does not serve them well when they enter school where reading should be as natural as breathing. But if they have no basis or habit of reading a book, this method of education is more difficult for them to embrace.

Take Control Of Personal Learning

Start today to learn one thing new - it is never too late. Your desire to keep advancing through life by initiating a program of self-learning is one that fills your own desire and does not jump to the rhythm of another drummer. Your control over your life is also reflected in understanding clearly that there is no one else who is ultimately responsible for your career, for your personal growth, or for your future. You are the owner of your own band with all of its instruments finely tuned and playing in the same key and playing the same tune.

One of the short comings seen often in organizations is that employees of today seem to think that their employer is responsible for their growth. In other words, if the employer does not initiate, or pay for, educational programs, the employee will not initiate their own learning
opportunities. Once, not that long ago, I had a colleague ask me why she was always bypassed for promotion when she was one of the longest serving staff members. The short version of this story was that she never engaged in any form of self development or after hours training. Her skill levels, and their usefulness to the company, were out of date but she never initiated going beyond, in any way at all, what was normally required of her to do her job. Simply put, her lack of honing her skills, or learning new skill sets cost her the opportunity to advance.

Inspirational Quotes for Reflection:

"Each moment of your life is a brush stroke in the painting of your growing career." Wilfred A. Peterson, The Art Of Living

"You're unique. And you have an inner voice that tells what you want and need. To choose for yourself means to listen to and respect this voice so that you can say, I do this because I want to, not because others want me to." Amy E. Dean

"Knowledge from books will make you more confident to talk about practically anything!" Sarah Brooks


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