Everyone must accept that at some point life is an ever evolving escapade of learning and unlearning. I despise when asked the “where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?” My way of thinking is that if I can answer it straight then I most likely don’t have a clue what I want. It is probably something that I made up that sounds impressive. “I want to own my own company.” “I want to have traveled the world.” “I want to have a functioning investing portfolio.”
These sound great. But are lies.
What I would really want to be doing? Sitting in a hammock on a tropical island with millions of dollars in the bank. I would be saying things like, “Yes, let’s start that charity for potable water.” Or, “Have Jeeves fuel up the boat, we need to go fishing.” THAT is what I would like to be doing, but is it totally, 100% realistic? Probably not.
The only certainty I have seen in life is my constant evolution into who I am today. Luckily I may never feel the need to relive “glory days”, but when I look back I realize how much I have grown and how worse off I was then. My opinions change as my life goes on and I learn new points of views and ideas. It is a tiresome effort, to constantly evolve. No one--especially not Darwin--has said that evolution is easy. But it is necessary and will happen.
These quotes are here to hopefully help you along your evolution.
You’re going to feel like an idiot. Accept it. Learning means being taught something you did not know before or expanding on a fraction of an idea that you had. Entrepreneurs and self-sufficient people--those most likely to be learning--are not very good at taking advice about what they are not good at. Put on your dunce cap and work it. “I am always ready to learn although I do not always like being taught.”--Winston Churchill.
Make sure you feel less like an idiot by…knowing that with everything you are learning you realize that there is more out there to learn. It is not a vacuum of energy, but rather an infinite slate on which to write your interests and your story. Build up a reservoir of ideas on topics that you actually like to talk about, not just what is in vogue. Doing this will A) make you sound like you actually know what you’re talking about since you are excited to hold a conversation on it and B) will lead you down a path of more discovery because you will want to read more and more on those subjects. “If you hold a cat by the tail you learn things you cannot learn any other way.”--Mark Twain
Be open to everything but be specific in your learning. Running around and chasing every piece of information will leave you dead-headed and dried up of all creativity and energy. All of us have let BuzzFeed or Upworthy conquer our lives for a day. Restrain from the compulse to ingest everything. Always be open, but know what you are looking for. “Try to learn something about everything and everything about something.”--Thomas Huxley
Know that what others preach they may not practice. We have all met these people. Those who claim to be “entrepreneurs” who have never created a business. Those who talk all about music but don’t know the origin of a genre. Or those who claim to be honest business people and they turn out to passively be plotting everyone’s demise. Be smart. Beware. “Beware of the man who works hard to learn something, learns it, and finds himself no wiser than before.”-Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
If you follow someone, love their work, not them. I do this all too frequently. I read a book or poem, see a movie or show, and then instantly digest everything that artist has produced. A majority of the times I end up unfollowing them on Twitter or hating other pieces of work. Just like art and experiences everything will touch a human soul differently. Appreciate what is providing you positive stimulation and forget the rest. “I have never in my life learned anything from any man who agreed with me.”--Dudly Field Malone.
Don’t fall for every educational tool there is. “The purpose of learning is growth, and our minds, unlike our bodies, can continue growing as we continue to live.”- Mortimer Adler
Be proactive in your application. Once you have studied the next step is application. Learn, teach, master. Then repeat. The only way to find your next path is to start on one. There is no need to learn if there is no practice of teaching. “I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.”--Pablo Picasso
The cheesy proverb is correct. -->“Learning is like rowing upstream: not to advance is to drop back.”-Chinese Proverb.
But, there are no “experts”. Charlie Chaplin once said, “That’s all any of us are; amateurs. We don’t live long enough to be anything else.” No matter how many “gurus”, “wizards”, “maestros”, and “experts” you see out there (especially in the marketing world) take that with a grain of salt. All anyone can be is a constant learner. Finding the kinks in the system can lead you to become an innovator but only if you connect all the information you have and turn it into knowledge. Learn, then innovate. That’s how leaders
Never stop learning. It’s your life and your progress. Choose wisely where you dedicate your path. Appreciate every day for the possibilities it contains. “There is no end to education. It is not that you read a book, pass an examination, and finish with education. The whole of life, from the moment you are born to the moment you die, is a process of learning.”--Jiddu Krishnamurti
And just remember, “I am learning all the time. The tombstone will be my diploma.”--Eartha Kitt
“Education consists mainly of what we have unlearned.”--Mark Twain
“We learn more by looking for the answer to a questions and not finding it than we do from learning the answer itself.”-Lloyd Alexander
Also listed on Thought Catalog.