The organizational psychologist, Adam Grant shared that “although productivity in a day depends on the amount of time you spend doing, productivity in a career hinges on the amount of time you spend thinking and learning. I like getting things done. But when I looked at my calendar, I saw nearly all of my work time was blocked out for doing. New goal: carve out at least an hour a day for thinking and learning.”
This habit of learning I became interested in because I want to be a lifelong learner. While I was interviewing for jobs, I did not understand how to showcase that I was worthy of such a title.
As adults, it is up to each individual to be intentional about learning. It naturally happens with memory and the way that our brains process information. We know we are learning new things every day whether we are conscious of it or not. It is up to us to pay attention to. It is up to each of us to mindfully cultivate a habit of learning throughout our lives.
Learning was built into the way that we lived life during our upbringing. From our early days of learning how to stand on two feet to learning to mimic our parents and learn to speak and then how to write what we speak. It is in our DNA as animals to learn in order for survival. This is an accepted view of human behavior because everyone around us learned the same as us of how to walk and how to become literate. Through failing and practicing. Because it never ends, learning is a skill that everyone must perpetually hone.
Spending the majority of our time being surrounded by educators while being raised as a way to impose upon the youth to create a habit of learning. Upon leaving this safe environment, life gets messy. No matter what level of schooling. Think back to after each long school year being able to have a summer break and indulging in habits that you didn’t necessarily have the time for while in school, like staying up late to watch TV. You might consider this to be a bad habit that is rooted in the desire to rebel from learning. Logically it makes sense– to be exhausted and want rest. It depends on what you are watching though. It could actually be a different mode of learning rather than being seen as a waste of time.
There are other considerations as well. Without the guidance of a teacher leading the path of how to navigate the uncharted territory and support system of peers to learn with, it is a jarring task. We get so used to these 2 key pieces in learning that it is daunting to try to learn by oneself. Once graduates leave formal schooling, there is no transition of how to continue to learn without a shepherd to lead the way and a herd of companions.
Nobody can spoon feed all the answers on how to cultivate this learning habit except for yourself. You know yourself better than anyone else, so start experimenting. Take advantage of what is already within our natural tendency as humans to be curious and lust for knowledge. To get more improvement for your effort over time, having an intentional learning habit synced in as part of your daily behavior is essential.
We must become aware of our mistakes and reflect to become better than we were before. For me my learning habit is embracing my curiosity, asking myself each evening what 3 things I learned that day, and journaling before I start my next day. What will it be for you?