The Audio version:
This week my Son finishes his A Levels, and his time at school comes to a close. When walking to the station with him on Sunday, my wife reminded him of a conversation when he was still at primary school when he asked how much longer school was. At that point it was years off, but now that day has come.
Really it is just the start of the next journey, that of University or getting a job, and the next few months will see him doing one or both of them.
However, does our education, learning and development ever really end? We may finish school or university to end the formal education but I have certainly spent more time learning since leaving school. The difference is, now it is things I want to learn about, or to further my own skills to directly help myself or my business – and hopefully others too through what I have learnt.
I was listening to a podcast a while back that gave an interesting point when talking about whether we really need algebra or Latin. School is there to teach us how to learn, if we can learn such things as Latin and algebra then we have the tools to learn other things as well.
I certainly like to put learning into practice.
This may be through learning new ways to improve my marketing, new methods for productivity, or to enhance my skills on technology. It is also just listening to others. Hearing their ways of doing things, over-coming problems, or just how they see things differently to me.
Though the Masterminds we sometimes have new members who wonder what they can possibly give to the group. What do they know about business? They are just learning things themselves. However, each person brings their own angle and experience to things. An artist would have a creative mind that could see things others would not even consider. Someone with a sales background could see how to get the wording right to interest the customer more. Everyone can bring their own abilities and knowledge to the mix. In turn that provides new ways of looking at things and learning new skills from others. Your own personal 1:1 development.
As an adult, there are lots of ways of improving your own development. Perhaps it may be through a local college as a part time or evening course, back to traditional education again, or through online courses run by further education or open university. You may even consider doing that degree you missed out on the first time around.
Attending workshops, seminars and conferences are another good way to improved your skills and knowledge. Listening to inspirational speakers really help to embed the information in a way that doesn’t feel like a heavy slog of learning. Their enthusiasm and encouragement motivates your mind, and helps you to stay focussed and remember it better.
Then there is YouTube. A good fountain of ‘how to’ style videos on just about anything you want to learn. Improving the look of a document, how to embed formulas in a spreadsheet, improving your cooking skills can all be found with a simple search. There’s even one or two from me. Check out this one on stopping the distracting notifications on your computer and iPhone that rob you of your time.
Books are another good source, and reading is often something I hear people want to do more of. Remember that you don’t have to have an hour or so to devote to reading. By just taking 15 mins a day you can get through an average book in a month. That’s 12 a year. Twelve opportunities to increase your knowledge, skills, and boost your business or personal life.
Some I would suggest are Laura Vanderkam 168 Hours-You have more time than you think, Tim Ferriss 4-Hour Work Week and Gary Keller The One Thing. Grab them on Kindle or in book format, which ever suits you most. If you are looking for some more inspiration then check out Blinkist. It gives you a short summary of the book, so you can decide whether it is worth buying, and a way to get the important aspects of a book without a lot of reading.
As a final suggestion listen to some TED talks. Here you will find mountains of inspiration from both renown and local expert speakers on science, business and global issues. Here are a couple to start you off. Simon Sinek, and Amy Cuddy
So, lots of ways that you can continue your personal development – without the uniform and bike sheds. Find one or more that suits you and see what skills you can enhance today.
Comment below with more suggestions for further development such as book reviews, TED Talks etc.