We all know that change is rarely easy to adapt to, but it is necessary to adapt in order to keep growing. In the society we live in, job titles and roles are constantly changing or becoming obsolete. By next week, month or year there may be an app for the job you do now. One of the best ways to adapt to the inevitable change is to become knowledgeable. Outside of a formal education, self-education is one of the most beneficial investments you can make in yourself.
Paul Jun is a writer and author. His latest book is Connect the Dots: Strategies and Meditations on Self-Education. Connect the Dots is a concise manual to help you get started on the path of self-education. The opportunity to learn something new to improve how you lead your life and do your work is more accessible than ever.
By opening ourselves up to the mindset we had as students, we can turn to self-education to hone in on current skills and develop new ones. How do we ignite and sustain an eagerness to keep learning the rest of our lives?
Below is a summary of Jun’s insights on how to embrace self-education.
Start with heroes from the past
They give you something to reach for, a higher standard. They can be living or dead.
I personally think of Abraham Lincoln and all the obstacles he overcame to become a great man.
He was largely self-educated as a young man and did not give up, because he did not have access to schools and teachers. “All I have learned, I learned from books.” ― Abraham Lincoln
In your current work, you may not have a mentor to teach you the job, but you always have the opportunity to learn.
Take advantage of free educational resources
Because of technology we have numerous sources to gather information from; books, podcasts, blogs, online courses and tools that provide easy access to study and learn about any subject.
Explore unrelated subjects
If you are interested in design, you may study architecture or fashion history. Exercising your mind to connect the dots, gives you new insight and a richer understanding.
Make learning a habit.
A desire to learn is an asset that will continue to bear fruit throughout your life. Without the desire to grow our understanding of ourselves and our world around us, we stagnate. We become comfortable with what we know and feel that there is not anything else to learn. That kind of thinking is dangerous. There is always something to learn that will improve how we lead our lives and do our work.
Apply what you learn.
Reading information prepares your mind, but are you actually utilizing it in your daily life? When you read something that can improve your work, do you apply it and experiment? Learning is about improving the way you live and how you make decisions. It would be foolish to collect knowledge without implementing it.
Share your knowledge.
If you have learned about something that can help you at work, from a webinar or training you have been able to take advantage of, share it with your coworkers.