It is an interesting thing that for most people, their learning stops when their formal education comes to an end.
We often think of learning as what we learn at school and at any higher educational institutions.
While formal education plays a very important part in our development and growth, it is still only one way that we learn. We also learn from:
- Our daily interactions and experiences.
- The choices or decisions we make.
- The people we associate with.
- Various platforms such as television, movies, social media channels, apps or websites.
- The books we read.
- The events, seminars, workshops or training programs we attend.
With our world continuously changing at an ever-increasing pace, it has become vital that we continue to learn just to be able to keep up with the changes happening around us. If we stop learning or are not willing to learn, then there will be some painful risks or consequences.
One of the skills I wish I had devoted more time and energy to learning was becoming a better public speaker. My first formal training in speaking was doing a Toastmasters program, which I later found was not enough if I wanted to be a professional speaker. I ended up being stuck at one level of speaking for quite a few years until I really got serious with my career and travelled overseas to learn to become a better speaker and trainer.
Those few years of not diligently improving my speaking skills certainly cost me financially, affected my confidence level and slowed my progress into having a speaking and training career. Even to this day, I am still making up for time I did not devote to learning more about speaking and training.
Everything we do has a consequence, which can either be beneficial and detrimental to us. One of the fundamental laws of the universe is that if something is not in a state of growth, then it must be in a state of decline. Here are five painful risks if we stop learning on a consistent basis. The good news is we can avoid these painful consequences if we commit to learning something new each day.
- Your creativity will diminish. Learning fuels our creativity as we are stimulated with new ideas or information. As most learning is taking something we don’t know and associating it with something we know, the more we learn, the better we will be at relating things to each others. This is one of the foundations of creativity. Therefore, if we want to be more creative, we should learn something everyday.
- You won’t get better at making decisions. There are many ways we make decisions. Some of us follow our hunches or gut feelings, whereas others may seek advice from people they trust, and others may want to have all the information or facts before making decisions. The ability to make good decisions is a skill that can be developed, and we do that by becoming better informed. This often means doing our research or keeping up to date with things. If we are not learning, then we won’t be picking up new information that will support us in making better decisions.
- You won’t grow into the person you can be. We all have the potential to do anything we choose. But if we are not challenging ourselves to do things we have not done before, then we are not growing. As the saying goes, “Growth happens beyond our comfort zone.” Learning about ourselves makes us look at our behaviours and motives behind the things we are doing. Sometimes they can be painful to learn, but it a lot better to know than to live in a state of ignorance. Learning gives us mental stimulation, which also strengthens our mind.
- Your self-confidence won’t increase. One way to increase our confidence is to develop more competence. In other words, we have to become better at doing something. For example, if someone wants to get better at a using a particular computer program, one way is by practicing using the program along with getting more training. As the person’s skill level improves, so will their level of confidence. Therefore, a great way to increase our self-confidence is to continuously immerse ourselves in a state of learning.
- You won’t influence others as well as you’d like. The most influential people in the world are those that have knowledge, skills, life experience and overall wisdom about things in life. A lot of that is a result of what they have learnt, whether that is through their own experiences or through the experiences of others. In order to be a better role model and better support others in achieving what they want, being a learner is absolutely necessary.
If we don’t commit to learning and growing ourselves, chances are we will be left behind and others will get ahead of us a lot faster. If we want to stay on track towards what we want in life and be a better role model, then we must learn something everyday. We have an abundance of choice today on how we can learn and when we can learn. The key is to commit to learning.
Question: What could be another painful consequence if we stop learning something new each day?
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