By: Brian Tracy
Throughout the developed world, we have moved from an era of manpower to an era of mind power. We have moved from the use of physical muscles to the use of mental muscles. Today the chief sources of value in our society are knowledge and the ability to apply that knowledge in a timely fashion. In the information age, knowledge is king, and those people who develop the ability to continuously acquire new and better forms of knowledge that they can apply to their work and to their lives will be the movers and shakers in our society for the indefinite future.
When you learn and practice the techniques for rapid learning, when you join the learning revolution, you will learn how to unlock the incredible powers of your mind. You will learn how to become smarter¾faster than ever before. You will learn how to become a master of your fate rather than a victim of circumstances. You will learn how to take complete control of your present and future destiny so that you can accomplish and achieve anything you want in life.
Knowledge is doubling every two to three years in almost every occupation and profession, including yours. This means that your knowledge must double every two to three years for you to just stay even. People who are not aggressively and continuously upgrading their knowledge and skills are not staying in the same place. They are falling behind. You see this demonstrated all over the place with massive lay-offs, declining wages, and growing insecurity in the workforce. You see it in the increasing bewilderment and despair on the part of people who are being displaced from low-skill jobs which have either moved overseas or disappeared altogether. We are in the midst of a societal revolution where unionized industrial workers are becoming a smaller and smaller percentage of our workforce each year.
As recently as the 50s and 60s it was common to believe that you finished your schooling, got a job with a large company and stayed with that company for the rest of your life. This was based on the old paradigm of learning. In this old paradigm, life was divided into three parts. First were your learning years, during which you got your education, however extensive or limited. Then came your earning years. This was the period of time during which you worked for a living. After that came your yearning years. This was the period of retirement which would be paid for by Social Security, savings, and pensions.
Today, with workforce requirements changing so rapidly, you must continually be asking yourself, What is my next job going to be? You must also be asking yourself, on a regular basis, What is my next career going to be?
Imagine for a moment that your entire company or industry vanished overnight and you had to start all over again in an entirely new business doing an entirely different job. What would it be? And don’t think this question is speculative or that it applies to someone else. It is a question that you will probably have to deal with, perhaps far sooner than you expect. In thinking about your new job and your new career, here is the most important question of all: What do I have to be absolutely, positively excellent at doing, in order to earn an excellent living in my new job and my new career?
The answer to almost every question and the solution to almost every problem in the world of work is to learn and practice something new and different. When you learn how to use the incredible power of your brain to absorb and apply new ideas and information, you will be able to lead the field and rise to the top of any profession or occupation.
Here’s another question for you: What is your most valuable asset? In terms of cash flow, what is the most valuable thing you have? Well, unless you are very rich, or have a family trust account, your most valuable asset is your earning ability. It is your ability to earn money. It is your ability to apply your knowledge and skill in a timely fashion to get results for which others will pay.
All your education, knowledge, experience, reading, training, and work has contributed toward building up your earning ability. According to the research, the so-called rich in America, and in other countries, are almost invariably people who started from common beginnings, often with great disadvantages, and then overcame those circumstances by investing an enormous amount of time and effort on developing their earning ability. And you can do the same thing, starting today, or at any time.
Management consultant Peter Drucker says that the truly educated person today is a person who has learned how to learn continuously throughout life. Tom Peters says that continuous learning may be the only real source of sustainable competitive advantage for individuals and corporations. And Peter Senge, who wrote The Fifth Dimension, says that only learning organizations, those organizations that are capable of taking in new information, adapting it, and using it faster than their competitors, will survive in the fast-changing, competitive world of tomorrow.
The more you know, the better you will be at solving problems and getting results for which people will pay you. The more you know, the more freedom and opportunity you have. And the more you learn and the faster you learn it, the more rapidly you move upward and onward in your career and in every other area of your life.
Between where you are and where you want to go, there is almost always a gap, and in almost every case you will find that you can bridge this gap with knowledge and skills. In order to get from where you are to your goals, you have to learn and practice something new and different. You have to learn new skills and abilities. You have to learn new attitudes and methods. You have to learn new techniques and practices. If you want to be a better parent, you must learn and practice better parenting skills. If you want to be a better spouse, you must study and practice relationship skills. If you want to earn more money, you have to determine what it is that people will pay more money for, and then get busy learning and practicing those behaviors.
Specific knowledge and specific skills will become obsolete with the passing of time, but learning how to learn is a permanent skill that you can use all the days of your life. The people who join the learning revolution, and who learn how to learn faster, like those people who first learned how to operate computers, or learned how to become excellent in their fields, will be able to earn more in one or two years of work than the average person earns in perhaps five or ten years.
By joining the learning revolution, you will enhance every area of your life. You will be able to help your spouse and your children unlock and realize more of their individual potentials. You will be a better friend in helping your friends use more of their abilities. And you will be a better manager, developing the skills that will enable you to get far more out of yourself and other people than ever before.