Continuous learning. Yes, continuous learning.
You should never slow down your learning, or worse, stop learning. And this one thing I see a lot of adults do. The moment they settle down and are no longer under pressure to read books for either an academic program or for a professional course/exam, they stop reading altogether.
Too many people detest their school days so much that they pledge to not read any book after school. And even when they break this pledge it is to read trivial books, nothing very educative.
This week I got an email from Bill Gates. Surprised? Please don't be. If you sign up for his richly enlightening Gates Notes blog you too will get emails from him.
In the email he talked about how reading and continuously learning has been the bedrock of his success in life and business. Okay, I sneaked in some of my own into that interpretation. The more accurate fact is that he mentioned how reading and working extremely hard are life changing (for good) habits. He reads dozens of books a year. Sometimes, two a week. And he worked extremely hard at the start of his career with no vacations and with plenty overtime. He is now in his 60s and still reads a lot. In fact, in that email he talked about the most interesting books he's read this year.
The same for every person I look up to (except the Nigerian ones that don't share much about their lives and habits). In fact, my mentors don't just read they also write. They write the books others read. The share knowledge and I try to emulate them. They are constantly learning and spreading the useful knowledge they acquire.
And that is one skill -- I mean continuous learning -- that will take you places and give you a very rich life. It will take you places by increasing your business value, professional competence and creativity. It will give you a very rich life by making you more balanced in your view and interactions in life. You will become like the wise elders we read about in our primary school days. The elders who know where the tree will fall. The elders who know what will happen before everyone else does. The elders who make better decisions. The elders who have a stable enviable life. Only reading and continuous learning can make you knowledgeable in a meaningful way and keep you relevant as the times change.
I study more now than I did in my school days. And the cool part is I don't have to wait till end of the year to see the results of my studying. They are usually instant. Especially, the effects on my business.
I hope you too have signed up to be a lifelong learner and taken up the skill of continuous learning. If you haven't then please make it one of your 2017 goals. Cheers!