Fifty years ago when you graduated from high school, college or university you could close the book on education and get busy with your life.
Back in those days if you simply married the knowledge gained from education with the experience gained from years of life you could coast through most careers and progressively climb the ladder until you reached your desired success.
Certainly the world was changing at a rapid pace, but the pressure on you to stay current was not overly intense, and as long as you produced at an acceptable level your life would inch along just fine.
Many years ago I read an article that claimed 54% of North American adults will never read a book from cover to cover after they graduate from their last academic accomplishment. Yikes!
Fast-forward 30 years and the world is indeed a different place. The collective pool of knowledge is growing many times faster than ever before and technology is advancing at a rate that seems to be making next year’s model already obsolete.
The Habit of Always Being Current is no longer optional for those who wish to reach higher and higher peaks in their chosen fields.
For many of us, daily life is filled with what is seemingly a never-ending battle of things competing for our time and attention.
It seems as if there is always something we need to drop everything else for in order to do right now. There does not seem to be much respite from the demands on our time.
And in addition to meeting all these demands we must devote time every day to staying on top of changes and new developments in our chosen fields.
I was chatting recently with a physician friend of mine who admitted to spending upwards of seven hours each week – at least one hour daily – studying the latest findings and familiarizing himself with the newest discoveries and techniques in medicine.
So rapid is the growth of knowledge in his field that he confided that despite spending that amount of time each week, he felt he was still falling further and further behind.
Along with my sister and brother, I was raised as a reader. To this day I never have a day in my life that does not include at least one hour of reading. For me, this is an addiction, and it is one for which I am truly grateful.
And yet I often feel I am not spending nearly enough time reading and studying as I frequently find myself feeling left behind when I engage in conversations with others in my field and hear, for the first time to from them, of things brand-new to me.
Despite subscribing to, and devouring, numerous business magazines and reading everything I can get my hands on regarding human behaviour, the sheer volume of new information often leaves me feeling bewildered.
The Habit of Always Being Current must be front and centre at all times if we wish to continue to get better and stay relevant in our fields of endeavor.
Heraclitus – a Greek philosopher who spoke of change being central to the universe, authored the quote, “change is the only constant in life,” which, over the centuries, has been re-engineered as the only thing constant in life is change.
And as change constantly marches on, so must we adopt to The Habit of Always Being Current if we wish to remain relevant, competitive and credible.
The term lifelong learning entered our lexicon in the last 20 years and could not have come at a timelier moment.
Committing ourselves to being lifelong learners, into doing all we can to be current is not an option we can choose, but rather a requirement we cannot ignore.
And if we do choose to not stay current, we do so at our own peril.
Let’s make a habit of meeting like this.