“The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young”—Henry Ford
Over 100 years ago, the great automobile entrepreneur Henry Ford said that anyone who stops learning is old, whether you’re 20 or 80, and that anyone who keeps learning stays young. The same is true today. We should all be lifelong learners, and that’s especially important for you seniors out there. Studies show that seniors who keep their minds active are much less likely to succumb to dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and other types of mental degeneration. Life is a continual learning process.
A 90-year-old gentleman I’ve known for many years is a great example of a lifelong learner. He learned a foreign language after the age of 70. He has been a major contributor to and thought leader for a service organization; he is constantly listening to CDs and going to different conferences to learn a lot more about the things that are of interest to him. He’s remarkable, but there are many other seniors like him, and they’re very inspiring to me because I see them as lifelong learners.
School is just the start of learning
Your diploma is just your admission ticket to the world. That’s when the real learning starts–something that surprises many young people when they get into the workplace. Lifelong learning is keeping your eye on the ball. For example, a former client of mine was a family-owned manufacturing business that made very small food items. They got distracted by a foray into real estate–not part of the core business they had built up over 80 years. Before they knew it, a competitor in their core business had invested in a new machine that substantially cut its manufacturing costs. My client couldn’t match the competitor’s prices and before they knew it, they were out of business. Really a sad story, but my clients didn’t take lifelong learning into consideration. They weren’t constantly assessing their business and keeping up with new technology in their industry, much less their competitors’ moves.
Lifelong learning has never been easier
Whether it’s for business or personal growth, lifelong learning has never been more accessible. You can take a MOOC–a Massive Open Online Course on the Internet right from the comfort of your home. Many MOOCs are taught by phenomenal professors from great universities. There are informal websites for learning, as well. You can also read books, listen to CDs, go to half-day or full-day educational programs and so much more. The world is changing so fast that even if you’re only five years out of school, you could find yourself behind the curve in your industry if you don’t keep your skills and knowledge current. Don’t let this happen to you.
To that end, Adam Blonsky and I recently wrote a book called The Business Battlefield. Click here to obtain free of charge one of the chapters about lifelong learning. If you like it, you can get the full book online. Just a little more insight into the power of lifelong learning. Until next time, enjoy. Gary
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