I like to tell my children that I’m still learning. I tell them we are life-long learners and that it is a necessity for us to keep our minds open to learning, absorbing as much new information as we can…forever.
Seriously, I’m still learning. How I learn and what I learn gets better with age. I’m at the point in my life where I have enough evidence to prove to myself that various experiences have panned out for me in ways I would have never anticipated. The skills I acquire with each life experience have helped me in so many unrelated areas. The proof is in the pudding.
Learning new skills is generative.
I often get questions about why I do things. Why do you serve on that committee…without pay? Why do you bother going door-to-door during election season? Why do you spend time writing?
If you take away the core reason why I do everything that I do–because I feel passionate about the cause–at the end of the day I have learned and refined new skills that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.
When I go door to door working on a campaign, the skills and knowledge I acquire about how to effectively communicate with people about issues and candidates translate into future marketing skills.
When I sit through a long meeting about community needs, I learn to identify key issues and determine an action plan. I learn how to implement ideas and I network with amazing people who are doing innovative things with their lives. I get story ideas.
I could go on and on. My point is, even though people tend to focus on “what do I get right now,” they often overlook what they will get in the long-run. Opening yourself up to these new opportunities and learning experiences will only enrich your life and further build your skill-set, all of which are valuable.
So learn. Learn whatever you can and don’t shut the door on opportunities that come your way. Try to remember what it felt like being a young child with a sponge-like mind, ready to absorb the world.