If you're not growing, you're dying. I know it sounds a little morbid and a little bleak, but F is it true. I am a big advocate for education and believe in the cliché, you learn something new everyday. However, I think you have to actively pursue learning something or you won't actually retain it. I, like many of you, went to college and chose a major that I really enjoyed. However, for the first 3 years of college I don't know that I learned a single thing, other than how to work a vape or properly shotgun a beer. Just because you are in school or taking classes doesn't necessarily mean you're learning. It's an active behavior. You have to work to learn.
These days there are so many different ways you can learn (i.e., podcasts, audiobooks, physical books, ebooks, the Internet, YouTube videos, mentorships, internships, workshops, talking to people, etc.). There's really no excuse not to learn something everyday.
My current favorite place to learn stuff, to better myself as a human, is through podcasts. I love podcasts because they're free 😄 and there's an unlimited amount of them covering various categories. I started getting into podcasts earlier this year when a friend of mine introduced me to the Tim Ferris Show. On the show, Ferris interviews people from all walks of life that are super successful at their craft. Those interviewed include Malcolm Gladwell, Shaun White, and Jamie Foxx to name a few. Ferris, himself, is a New York Times best selling author. The podcast is easily my favorite because I’m able to dive deep inside the minds of people with a common theme among them; people who weren't given a lot and had to work to succeed. Some other podcasts that I enjoy are $100MBA, #ASKGARYVEE SHOW, Inside Quest, and Revisionist History, which is slowly becoming my favorite. They're all great for assisting you in growing as a person and understanding the world as is.
Audiobooks are a great second place to learn some new things. The only issue I have with them is that they tend to take up a little more time than most podcast episodes. Some books that I feel have helped with my growth are as follows:
1. Incognito by David Eagleman
This book dives into the deep workings of the subconscious mind.
2. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
This is a book that essentially explains how not to be an asshole.
3. How To Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie
This one is self explanatory.
I highly recommend all of these books if you're looking to gain a different perspective on life and other people's behavior, as well as your own. Also, anything by Tony Robbins will leave you with the desire to become a better person.
I must admit though, the most valuable way to learn to enhance your life and career is through shadowing someone, a mentorship. Find someone in your field of interest who is seasoned, knowledgeable, and someone you look up to and respect. Talk to them. Ask them questions. Pick their brain. Do whatever you can. I would suggest that you volunteer to help them out in exchange for info. Just get creative. This will help you mold your craft. I learned so much from shadowing trainers before I got my first job training. This was tremendous for expediting my learning curve and gaining confidence in my craft during my early stages. That is not the only time I've shadowed someone. When I wanted to learn more about physical therapy, I sought out one of the best in the area. I shadowed them and asked thousands of questions. Someone who's been there and done that is going to have so much valuable information for you. It'll cost you some unpaid time but that's how valuable I think it is. I'm stingy with my time. I only spend it on things that I like and bring me value such as friends, family, learning, and, of course, my health.
I do not remember who said this but, “A smart person learns from their mistakes. A wise person learns from other’s mistakes.” Whoever coined this was clearly wise lol. I'm aiming to be wise and I imagine you are too. If there's something you want to do, seek out someone who's done it. If the person you seek out isn't interested in helping, don't take offense to it. Just brush it off, move on, and find someone else who will. Hearing no is not the end of the world and shouldn't stop you from asking. If they aren't interested in mentoring you, you can find out if they speak at any conferences or host any workshops. Many times you can hear multiple top professionals speak all in one day if you attend the right workshop.
As a part of my profession, if I want to remain relevant in the field, I need to go to multiple workshops every year. It costs a lot of money, but most times it has been worth it. Workshops are a great place to network. The more interactive they are, the better. Also, they're a good place to see what the rest of the industry is doing. Learn from it and take away what you want.
Think of yourself as a lifelong learner. If you don't subject yourself to new situations, new information, new people, how do you expect to grow or get better at what you do? Yes, I am only 26, so one could say that I have a lot of time to live, learn and grow. Honestly, there is not an age limit on learning and becoming a better person. No matter what age you are, you can always learn new things. Try new things, read new stuff, go to new places, live, and frickin learn.