Lifelong learning

“The only thing you cannot afford not to do is learn.”

Hank Paulson, former US Secretary of State

It’s exam time in my house. There will many more to come for my children. Even though they may not see it this way, it’s just the start.

I still remember finishing my last law exam and saying “I’m done with studying and exams.” The moment soon wore off, and I’ve been studying ever since. I’ve always viewed learning (and application) as part of my life, and not something where the means were justifiable only if the ends were big enough i.e. there was a big fat financial reward.

Perhaps it’s the circles I mix in, but too few people think they need to know more than enough to do their job. In most cases that means learning by doing (never a bad thing), but none of them have paid to go back to University, read more than the odd book and certainly wouldn’t dream of going on a course unless someone else was paying. I know there are some businesses that take, take, take when it comes to learning, but the lack of finance shouldn’t stand in your way. The long term benefits are way too huge.

Of course, learning doesn’t just come down to a piece of paper or a bushel of books. You can just as easily go grab some mentoring time or form a Masterclass with the avowed intention of contributing to and learning from the group.

I know for some people the idea of learning fills them with dread. But the truth of the matter is that you can’t afford not to learn. If you think you know everything you need to know, then that is a sure fire way to mediocrity, frustration and a life half-lived.

If you are an employer reading this blog look at your human resources policy and see what it says. If you want to be best in the sector, helping those who aspire to something more is one of the wisest investments you can make. And don’t play the reactive game. Start looking for people who would benefit from more than the obligatory CPD.

I know I keep challenging you to think bigger than your current position, but learning lies at the heart of all aspiration. In fact, if it wasn’t for my passion for learning, I doubt if I would have had the courage to think there was a life beyond law.

Don’t sit on the fence. Enrol on a course. Read a book. Or go listen to someone who will make a difference in your life. Better still awaken your muse. You may just find that a new door opens on your life.

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