The best way to lead is by example. Whether it is in a business situation or with friends or family, a leader is someone who shows the way. When we demonstrate the behavior we want to encourage, we show our willingness to do what is expected. The people we are leading will often learn unconsciously, by osmosis. I believe continuous learning is one of the most important aspects of life. Whether for personal interest or for business, whether to show our family or our business associates, learning new ideas, techniques or methods keeps us curious, vibrant and growing. There are many options available today for us to learn.
Reading to Learn
I am fortunate to have grown up in a home where both my parents and eventually all my siblings were readers. From a very young age we watched our parents read to learn and read for entertainment. I grew up before computers and the WWW. We had a set of encyclopedias in our home for research for school projects and we regularly went to the library. I learned that reading to improve a skill or to find out more about an interesting subject could be rewarding. I continue this habit today…of reading to learn a new skill, a new idea, a new way of approaching a problem. I start everyday with 30 minutes of reading for personal development. It might be a book about my business, about mindfulness, about overcoming fear, about creating my best life. This habit allows me to start my day on a positive note and fills my brain with food for thought as I go through my day.
Reading for Pleasure
I always have two books on the go at the same time. I start everyday with my book for personal development, and I finish everyday with an hour or more of reading for pleasure. I read fiction. Best sellers. Anything that has great character development and a plot that twists and turns. This is how I relax my mind at the end of the day. I can get lost in the world of a skilled writer and the characters that evolve in the story.
Listening to Learn
Today we can learn via many alternative media. I know that there are many people who think that they are not readers. Options abound for you to continue to learn without picking up a book. If you can absorb information by hearing it, there are audio books available of almost any book you can purchase. You can also listen to pod casts about subjects that interest you or skills you need to develop. I listen to learn while I go for a walk most days. Occasionally I listen to music instead, if I need to wind down!
Watching to Learn
YouTube and other venues like Ted Talks also allow us to learn via sound and picture at the same time. If you are a visual learner, this is a great way for you to continue to grow and develop as a professional and as a person. Go to either medium and simply do a search for the topic that you are interested in knowing more about. I often find authors that I have read and enjoyed on Podcasts and Ted Talks. For me it is a way to learn more of the same ideas, or to reinforce what I have read.
Learning is the Key
There are so many options available to us all today. It may take some trial and error for you to find the method that suits you best. It is worth the time to do that. If we are not growing, we are treading water – we are stuck where we are. Lifelong learning will ensure that you grow as a person and develop your skills and talents to the best of your ability.
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