Habitual LearningMost people that know me, know that I am addicted to reading and listening to educational materials. For the past 10 years I have been listening to educational programs in my car, when I am walking or just waiting for an appointment at the doctors or dentist. In fact I like it when they are running late as this gives me more time to stop and listen to some great stuff. Over the years I have had a walk-man, an iPod shuffle to an iPod touch and an iPhone. I have it on my computer and in the office, it is everywhere.
I wasn't always a strong reader, in fact i used to have to read a book many times to be able to absorb the information but it never stopped me. I recall reading paragraph over and over again. I also remember many years ago having one of Steven Covey book and I had to read it with a Dictionary next to me as i didn't know the meaning of many words in the book so it took me months to read. Now I can read a book in a day or two.
I recall last year I had a strong desire to be by the sea so I took myself and my book to the Ocean and stood in the water reading and I was in heaven, i felt like I had the best of both worlds at my fingertips.
I have listened to some of the audios that I have more than 20 times. Jim Rohn has a seminar that was held in 2004 and I have continued to learn from him for the past 10 years. One of the great lessons he taught me was to listen to it all. Listen to Gandhi and Hitler and then make up your own mind on what you learn from them. Over the years I have built up a library of many great Philosophers to one hit wonders, as my father would call them. I read as much as I can and then decide what to take from each one and apply this to my life but only if this is aligned with my values and Goals.
Many years ago when I was learning about NLP(neuro linguistic programming), I though I was learning too slowly and was frustrated and fearful I was never going to get it. Then one day I realised everything clicked and I found myself using this tool effectively and often unconsciously. Now I understand that I am learning as much as I can in the time that I need to and it all comes into your consciousness at the right time. One thing is for sure, we never stop learning. As Tony Robbins once said "if you aren't growing you are dying, just like a tree"
Formal Education + Self education
Formal Education is a necessity of life. If we want to progress in our Career formal skills can provide opportunities or if we need to enhance skills as technology changes and the needs of the organisation change. Just look at marketing for example, this has changed dramatically over the past 10 years and more so in the past 5 years. How marketing was done 10 years ago doesn't work today.We can reach more people in less time that 10 years ago.
Formal education such as Traineeships and Apprenticeships allow us to get a foot in the door of the industry we want to explore in our early years or even later on in life when we want a career change. These opportunities allow us to earn at the same time as learning and obtaining a Formal education in Vocational Education and Training. Self education is where we educate yourself by identifying their is something we don't know and researching how to apply this in real life.
If you look at Entrepreneurs for example you will see that they are all self educated and had very little formal education. Take a look at Richard Branson, Jim Rohn, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Henry Ford. They all dropped out of College or didn't even go to College. They have all become successful but I can assure you they certainly worked hard on their self education and surounding themselves with the right people.
Education makes you wealthy?Recently I went to PNG to trek Kokoda and I learned that they choose one child to go to school and get an education as it is not affordable to send all children to school. Just one child out of 2 or 4 children gets an opportunity to have an education....this was a great shock and also a realisation as to how fortunate we are. Its just normal for us all to go to school and get an education. Its normal for us to have constant access to books. Lets face it how much does a library card cost??......that's right its FREE!!
I recall reading in Richard Branson's Biography about a lady who wanted to borrow $300 to buy a sewing machine and she promised to pay him back. She was an educated Business Woman who saw an opportunity and took it with both hands. Now Richard didn't think he would see the money ever again but three years later when he visited that village again, he got the money back. They were waiting for him to return the money and thank him for his kindness. The lady had built up her business and employed a number of staff and she was thriving.
My own personal experience has been a true testament to this. When I wasn't educating myself it was costing me my future. It was costing me as a Parent and it was costing me as an Entrepreneur. When I wasn't reading, I wasn't learning, I was making mistakes and didn't have any leverage to learn from them. Once I understood what self education could do for me I never stopped reading, listening and learning.
I am currently listening to The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy, this is great self education program that also has access to some supporting documents to help you implement the learning.
and remember, knowledge is not power it is potential power.
Till next time D