12 Apr 6 Simple Ways to Learn Anything for Career Growth
What a deep insight by Tony Buzan , the inventor of mind mapping and a genius , when he said that, “ Learning how to learn is life’s most important skill”. Yes, we may were made to believe that for career growth our learning happens only in universities, world-class colleges and institutes. However, few of the leading and famous entrepreneurs and professionals were self-taught e.g. Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple Computer, Inc was a college dropout worth millions. So were Bill Gates and many more. Such self-taught people are known as autodidacts.
They used the following 6 ways to learn which you and I are familiar with and hopefully we continue to use it with greater awareness. These autodidacts are extremely good at:
- 1. Observation. All autodidacts trained their eyes to concentrate and observe on things they wanted to learn. Wilson Bentley was best known as “Snowflake Bentley,” the first person who photographed and observed a snowflake carefully, and he is credited with the discovery that no two snowflakes are alike. His work was featured in Scientific American and National Geographic. Similarly, Vincent J. Schaefer, who discovered the principle of cloud seeding learnt through exploring nature through year-round outdoor activity.
- 2. Listening. They ensured they were in the company of learned people and experts. They would keenly listen to pearls of wisdom shared by learned men and experts. Sir Richard Branson, the legendary owner of Virgin says, “Great leaders are great listeners, who know their best asset is the people they work with.” Most of the learning for career growth happens when we listen with a learning attitude to our experienced mentors, parents, colleagues, and bosses.
- 3. Asking questions. One of the quick ways to learn for career growth is to ask questions with an open and humble attitude to learn. Asking questions bring out the treasure of thoughts and ideas which have been deeply embedded in the mind of the person who is being questioned and also the person who asks is enriched by those ideas. So what unique ways you use for learning?
- 4. Reading. To quote Bill Gates, “whether I’m at the office, at home, or on the road, I always have a stack of books I’m looking forward to reading.” The Indian mathematical genius Ramanujan had made significant contributions to number theory after acquiring a maths textbook at the age of 15. Ramanujan is notable as an autodidact for having developed thousands of new mathematical theorems despite having no formal education in mathematics, contributing substantially to the analytical theory of numbers, elliptic functions, continued fractions, and infinite series. So was George Bernard Shaw who had little formal education and was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1925. He educated himself through intensive reading, lecturing and participation in debates.
- 5. Being mentored or being a mentor. Ace Greenberg (Bear Stearns) was a mentor for Sumner Redstone (Executive Chairman and Founder of Viacom) who told him, “Follow your own instincts, not those of the people who see the world differently.” Similarly, Vincent J. Schaefer, who discovered the principle of cloud seeding, was schooled till 10th grade. He continued his informal education by participation in free lectures by scientists for his career growth. However, mentees need to display utmost humility to seek mentors views and then apply it in their professional life.
- 6. Taking Action. Instead of saying that “it cannot be done” or “I cannot do it”, start taking informed action on what you already know. Learners take action on information they have assimilated well. There is no point in only reading books, blogs and articles or listening to seminars or attending retreats if we are not taking action with that information. An icon of the era of American industrialization and at one time the richest man in the world, Andrew Carnegie said “no man becomes rich unless he enriches others.” He received his education not through school but through work and became one of the world’s greatest philanthropists. Henry Ford attended school until the age of 15. He satisfied his curiosity about mechanics by repairing watches. A self-taught engineer he founded the Ford Motor Company in 1903.
Surely these six may not be comprehensive and therefore will be keen to know other unique ways of learning for everyone’s learning and growth.