Long-time readers of Lead on Purpose have seen this quote by Eric Hoffer: “In a time of drastic change it is the learners who inherit the future. The learned usually find themselves equipped to live in a world that no longer exists.” It has become the chorus I have sung over and over. You must keep learning if you want to keep growing. You need to consistently feed your mind if you don’t want to become irrelevant.
Why does it seem more difficult now, with the abundance of resources we literally have at our fingertips, to commit to consistent learning? I have observed a couple of trends that I believe are taking us away from the path of true learning:
- Technology is replacing human interaction. It’s easier to text or message (Slack, Skype, etc.) someone than to have a meaningful conversation. This trend is weakening human interaction and lessening our ability to work effectively together. Though we see this trend discussed all around social media, it seems that most people either don’t realize they’re doing it or they don’t care.
- We’ve stopped exploring. Think about when you were a child, or consider young children you know: they try new things. They don’t worry about whether they can do it, they just try things and make them happen. Somehow that gets lost as we grow older. That drive to learn and grow fades away, and we conform to the customs of the culture we live in.
The good news is you don’t have to follow these paths, but you can make choice that will help you now and far into the future. When you’re around people, be present. Put your phone down, look them in the eyes and talk to them. Communicate with them. Ask questions. Seek to learn new information that will help you and that you can use to help others.
Get back in the habit of discovering. Don’t wait for things to come, but instead seek after them. Read (or listen to) more books, blogs, podcasts and video channels. Look for ways to create excitement in the work you do. And perhaps most important is that you find work you enjoy and pursue it with all your might.
It’s never too late to make this transition. Put your mind to identifying where you need to go, and then get to work!
Questions: How strong is your commitment to learning? What can you change to improve? Please leave a comment in the space below.
The Product Management Perspective: Building great products take dedication and commitment. Spend time learning tactical methods to help you with near-term processes. Work long-term, strategic planning into your products. The combination will make you an unbeatable force as a product leader.