Life Long Learning is the Key to Success

In The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness, best selling author, Stephen Covey states that he believes that over 20 percent of the present workforce is becoming obsolete, and unless they rededicate and reinvent themselves, within a few years, another 20 percent will become obsolete. People are either losing their jobs or gradually being transformed by the new demands of their new jobs. Covey goes on to say, “This Information Age is transforming so rapidly into the Knowledge Worker Age that it is going to take continual investment in our own education and training to stay abreast. Much of this will be done by the school of hard knocks, but people who see what is happening and who are disciplined will systematically continue their education until they acquire the new mind-set and the new skill-set required to anticipate and accommodate the realities of the new age.”

It is essential that we never stop learning. Lifelong education is a must if you wish to succeed. Obviously, a college education has tremendous benefits. However, many people have been very successful without college degrees. And even those with college degrees must continue to learn after the pomp and circumstance of graduation.

Where does one acquire lifelong learning? There is a wealth of information all around us, just for the taking. It is up to each of us to maximize our potential by learning as much as we can, and then applying that education to all of our goals and pursuits. Here are a few ways to continue learning.

Learn From Your Experiences

This is the school of hard knocks that street smart successes claim as their alma mater. It is a great way to expand the dimensions of your knowledge, if you take the time to actually learn from your experiences and not just let them pass by. We can learn from successes and failures, but often we forget to look for the lessons, and dwell in misery and defeat. Remember Edison ‘s view that each time he produced a light bulb that did not work, it was not a failure, but one step closer to finding the right way and achieving his goal.

Formal Education

While this article is mainly on education other than college, it should be pointed out that obtaining a formal degree has become easier with the abundant night, weekend, and on-line courses available. Many universities offer courses and degree programs that can be taken while still working full time. Whether you are working toward a degree, or just pick up a class here and there as continued education for your job or in areas of interest, universities and colleges have a lot to offer.

College does provide access to careers that are not open to non-college grads. In addition, learning how to learn and critical thinking, both staples of the undergraduate experience, are often more important than learning a particular occupation. While one can still be successful without a college degree, for some career paths it is essential, and the economic odds are still against the high school graduate who does not continue his or her education.


A fantastic way to learn is to find someone who has done what you want to do, and have that person become your mentor. This is an extremely powerful method of learning once you have developed a strong mentor relationship with someone willing to teach you and help you along. Do not be afraid to ask successful people to mentor you. The worst they can say is they do not have time. You will be amazed that many people are afraid to ask, and so many successful people are willing to share their successes, knowledge, and advice to those willing to learn.

Mastermind Groups

A powerful way to harness the perspective, knowledge, experience, and resources of others is to form a mastermind group. A mastermind group is made up of people who meet on a regular basis to share ideas, thoughts, information, feedback, and resources. Not only will you learn a lot, you will have the opportunity to move beyond your own limited view of the world and advance your goals and projects more quickly. Authors such as Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, and Denis Waitley all promote the power behind mastermind groups. Form one, and you too will discover the wealth of benefits the group provides each member.


Devoting time to read every day will result in a wealth of information in a very short time. There are books on every subject imaginable. If you want to learn something, there is no better way than to find the books on that subject and read them. Almost every answer to any question can be found in libraries. So why do only three percent of our entire national population possess a library card? Jim Rohn, business philosopher, speaker and author, likes to say, “If you read two books a week, you will have read 1,000 books in ten years. If you don’t, at the end of ten years you will be 1,000 books behind.”

Automobile University

Zig Ziglar likes to talk about the automobile university. There are tape and CD programs on more subjects that you can imagine. You can learn languages, success principles, and just about anything from tapes and CDs. Most libraries have a large selection of books on tape, including non-fiction selections, so they do not even have to cost you anything. The time you are already commuting can be turned into a daily education session.


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