Professional Life

It’s not what you know, but what you can learn that’ll make you succeed

The need to constantly be learning is very real

The odds are stacked against the fact that we’ll be doing in 20 years what we are doing today.  Do you remember the days before the internet?  It was legit, 20 years ago!  When’s the last time you saw a horse and buggy or an employed horse shoe maker.  We hear the myth of the coal miner, but I know a hell of a lot more opportunities in solar.

Can you imagine the technology were going to have in 20 years?  We won’t have to drive our own cars.  Do you think that is unbelievable?  My buddy’s Tesla already drives itself!  Tesla is planning to release a semi-truck in the next few years.  Are you a professional truck driver?  I’d start training for an alternative career now so you are prepared when it happens.

That’s the point I want to address in this article.  In order to be prepared for the future, you have to prepare for the future!  Coal miners know they are getting regulated out by two factors.  The first is that there is a massive consumer shift happening today with the market place demanding more renewable options as the price continues to decrease.  The second is that you are digging up a natural resource that there is only a finite amount of.  I mean, you are already blowing up mountains to get what you need.  How long can we do this before we can’t?  In a world where nothing is infinite, we should prepare ourselves in the event that finite happens.  We lose a job.  Our skillset isn’t one that is required anymore in the marketplace.  We’re getting out paid, out played and overstayed by some kid out of school that’s more in touch with what the consumer generation wants and needs.

This is why, the most important skill you can teach yourself in life, is how to learn.  Metalearning.  According to some good random person on Wikipedia, “You can define meta learning as an awareness and understanding of the phenomenon of learning itself as opposed to subject knowledge.”  How do we learn?  How do we adapt?  How do we evolve?  They say learning a second language as an adult can help prevent brain trauma after an accident.  They also say it helps your mental capacities bounce back quicker and can possibly prevent or slow down Alzheimer’s.  However, this is more than just making yourself a better and more worldly person or preventing disease.  This is about having the ability to teach yourself something new on a regular basis so you are ahead of the curve when it goes down.

Let’s take a step back and examine what we know and what we think we know.  We know that change is the only constant.  We think we know when things are going to change, the trends as they are happening and when a downturn is going to come.  We know that technology is ever changing and having new and genuine effects on all aspects of our life.  We don’t know what the effects of that technology are going to be over the long term.  Remember, the internet is only 20 years old basically.  That’s still so crazy to me!  We have no idea what the effects of the internet are going to be over time.  How do you think we know when this thing is barely old enough to drink!

We know the things we know, which means since we don’t know what’s going to happen, we have to arm ourselves with something that can keep up.  If you know how to learn and especially how you best learn, you are a deadly weapon for the future!  You can adapt.  You can be a chameleon!  You are going to be ready whenever something happens because you’ll be able to learn what it is and better yet, how to work within its constructs!  I’m a believer that if you are a subject matter specialist, it’s short term good, but long term bad.  What you should be is a learning specialist so you can go and compete in any business and/or life cycle.

I know this can be a little convoluted.  It’s different than an exact subject, it could esoteric.  However, I hope not.  Think about how you retain knowledge.  Myself, I’m an audio guy.  I listen to podcasts all day and audiobooks for dessert.  I’ve listened to the personal MBA, over 30 famous biographies and every Tim Ferriss audiobook ever put on audio.  I’ve consumed exponentially more content on audio than I ever took in from books in school.  I’ve also gained a HUGE appreciation for the subject matter I may have never been exposed had I not found out about this medium.  I learned that I learn best through audio.  There are also multiple interactive systems to help you learn.  Do you want to learn a new language?   Go immediately and download DuoLingo.  It’s the best language learning app on the market.  Moreover, there are online courses in more subjects than you could learn in a lifetime on platforms from The Kahn Academy to Harvard and MIT.  Yes, they have put all of their classes on the public domain.

It’s never been easier to learn.  There are delivery methods in every shape, form, and size!  I think the hardest part is avoiding the noise.  You don’t want people to see that you are preparing for a better future.  What’s wrong, you ain’t good enough now?  You don’t want to see people see you fail, which happens to all of us.  It’s more fun to binge watch house of cards or pound a bottle of wine.  I get it, I love Game Of Thrones Zinfandel night and you can’t take that away from me!  However, I do think it’s time for us as grown ups to take responsibility and prepare.

You need to first prepare by learning how to prepare.  Become aware of how you learn.  You can start by literally googling, how do I learn?  You will have a page of assessments at your fingertips and for free.  If you want to try DuoLingo to pick up a new language, just do it!  Go in and see if it works.  Do you want to learn internet marketing?  You can get a course for 40 bucks a month from digital marketing lab.  If that’s still too small, go to MIT’s free courses in the public domain and see if you can learn from the same courses as our tech giants!  Listen to a podcast or read a book on a subject matter you know nothing about.  If it works, I think we’ve found your style!

Let’s go and start the mission now.  What are you going to do so you can find out how you learn?  What new skills do you want to learn so you can test these new methods of learning?  When are you going to become the best version of you?  I hope the answer to that is today and every day after until my time on this beautiful planet has come to be!  Best wishes friends.

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