Continuing Education… School’s out forever!

April 10, 2011 — Leave a comment

Are you continuing your education outside of formal schooling? Or do you feel like your brain has shrunk since you got out of school and you’re getting dumber as you get older?

It was pretty easy to learn in high school and college when forced to, but what happens after you graduate?  When the forced learning stopped, most of my learning stopped!

“Once you stop learning, you start dying.” – Albert Einstein

Has that happened to you?  In all too many cases, the goal of completing formal education is to do it as fast as possible with the smallest amount of effort.

The current system promotes last minute cramming that only allows us to retain the information until we turn in the test or complete the class.  We move from one course to another with the goal of just getting through it.

After this cycle is complete, you might finally learn the importance of learning. You learn the importance of practicing an art, mastering a skill or conquering a challenge that will advance your life and career.  With that in mind, there are some powerful forms of education that we can receive every day.

Life should be a continuous pursuit of knowledge and this can be supported through work experience, a mentor, and reading.

1. Through work experience

Most of our lives will be taken up by working for other people or corporations. Unfortunately, while we are in those positions, we will always be making money for someone else.

This isn’t all bad for the employee. It gives us the opportunity to learn important skills and make mistakes without risking our future or our money!

It’s important to take advantage of all of the opportunities and education that is offered to us in order to help the company and more importantly, to increase our own knowledge.  Work hard at work and don’t be afraid to take on more work. The more you take on the faster you will learn.

2. Picking a Mentor

Some of the most valuable lessons in life can be learned through a mentor.  Life would be a lot easier if we could learn from the mistakes of others without repeating them ourselves.

On the flip side of this, life would be even greater if we could learn from the successes of others and advancing from there.  Find a mentor in a field where you want to succeed or someone that you believe you can learn something positive from.

It can start simply by asking that person to lunch or coffee. People are generally flattered when someone asks them to speak about their skills and a relationship can be developed.

3. Reading Books

Many of the greatest minds of history were avid readers.

“The man who does not read books has no advantage over the man that cannot read them.” – Mark Twain

There is another saying that once you read three books on a particular field, you become an expert! This is true in the consulting world as you’re always expected to be an expert at something – even if this was your first project to ever do it!

Those are three pretty easy ways to continue your education that you can start today. The best part is that they’re all free!  Do you have any other suggestions? If so, please leave them in the comments for all of us to learn from! Two points for the first person that gets the song referenced in the title!

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