What You Really Need to Learn

What, do you suppose, is the most important thing you learned from your formal education? Was it the ability to read? Was it a specific skill that you use on a daily basis in your job today? Or was it the ability to think through problems to find a solution?

While all of these things are extremely important – no, critical – I would suggest the most important thing one learns from any type of education is simply this…

What, do you suppose, is the most important thing you learned from your formal education? Was it the ability to read? Was it a specific skill that you use on a daily basis in your job today? Or was it the ability to think through problems to find a solution?

While all of these things are extremely important – no, critical – I would suggest the most important thing one learns from any type of education is simply this: how to learn. And I believe this critical skill is becoming more and more important with every year that passes. Why?

The skills you need today in your job are not going to be the same skills you’ll need in the near future. Decades ago, when someone started a career, it was typically something they would stick with until they retired. The skills they needed in the beginning were not much different than the skills they needed as they neared retirement. That is far from the way it is today. And the skills that would equip you to do a job even a decade or so ago are not the skills one needs today.

The workplace changes so quickly these days that the skills you need today may be outdated in as little as 6 months from now.

The number one skill today’s workers need to be successful is the ability to adapt, change, and acquire new skills quickly. In other words, to learn.

In Daniel Pink’s book, A Whole New Mind, he suggests that the era of the knowledge worker (the phrase that Peter Drucker coined) is changing. He says, “We must perform work that overseas knowledge workers can’t do cheaper, that computers can’t do faster, and that satisfies the aesthetic, emotional, and spiritual demands of a prosperous time.”

Imagine yourself five years from now. What will your job look like? What will you be doing? What is the most important skill you will need to perform that job? What about 10 years from now? Or beyond?

My bet is on learning how to learn – that’s the most important skill one needs for the future. Drucker said, “The only thing we know about the future is that it will be different.”

ripped tiger

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