Quality over quantity
I’ve always been taught that if you aren’t actively taking steps to further your education, you are probably going in the other direction. Information has never been so readily available to the masses. This allows others in your industry to have access to education that will help them climb over you in position. Since I love competition, that can’t happen.
So, it’s important to me to continue to sharpen the sword and learn as much as time allows.
AND SO SHOULD YOU.
We all get an opportunity to be the best we can be and now have access to so much content and developmental materials that there isn’t any reason why we can’t keep growing everyday. I encourage everyone to keep pushing themselves to grow and reach their potential.
So, here are a few things I’m doing to keep my education going in the right direction:
Yes, it can be dry and boring at times. March on!
Reading research – I can’t stress this part enough if you are in a science related field. This is what separates the amateurs from true professionals. There are so many articles published each month with new information on various research topics. This is an opportunity to learn new things and point us in the direction of what questions are being asked in your specific niche. No matter what industry you work in, there will be an opportunity to look at research that could change your mind.
But, we aren’t reading research to be shocked and awed. Research sets out to test a hypothesis, so sometimes the end of the study turns out to show something different from common assumptions.
How to take action on this: Google the words “Google Scholar” and use this feature to start typing in your interests! Some of the articles will be blocked due to the need for a subscription, but you will still get some articles and at minimum you can read a few abstracts to get your wheels turning.
Next on the list: Reading books.
I absolutely love reading books. And it wasn’t always that way. No, I’m not one of the people tied to the physical copies of books. I love reading them on the kindle just as much. But, just in the last year I’ve been able to read 12 books by doing two things:
- Make sure to reading into your routine.
- Make sure to take notes so you can refer back each time you open the book again.
These two tips look so minimal when typed out, but can be very helpful in the long run. Most people don’t have time to sit and read a book with peace and quiet for hours. So, instead try to work it into a routine where you block off some specific time for yourself to grow. I prefer to read at night before I go to bed and typically take a few notes so I can remember where I was quicker the next time I pick up the book. I am currently reading a book called “Focus” by Daniel Coleman. I was drawn to the book because of how much harder it is for clients and athletes I work with to focus on the task at hand. In a world filled with attention grabbing things, it seems like focusing on one thing has become a lost art. So, this book discussing the skill of focusing was exactly what I was looking for.
The last thing (and probably most important) way to further your education is…. TALKING TO REAL PEOPLE!
This one, sadly, is overlooked the most. It seems harder and harder to get someone on a phone call these days, as text messages are king. I get it, it gives people an opportunity to think about what they want to say in advance to craft the perfect response. But, with the dependence on this form of communication I’ve noticed people have a much harder time thinking on the fly. If there isn’t the 5-10 seconds of thought before replying over text, people are uncomfortable.
I say talking to people is probably most important because it’s the most efficient and effective way to learn. Those who have gone before you will always have trial and error under their belts. Anything you want to try has probably been attempted by someone before. By asking someone that has more experience, you eliminate the need to fail a couple times before you get it right. Sure, failure is a great teacher. But it’s inefficient if it’s unnecessary.
Money Play: Find people with more experience and more time under their belt in your respective fields and reach out to them. Not all of them will answer and that’s ok. But there are plenty of people out there doing very well that are happy to help the youth in their industry. Find these people and respectfully listen to anything they have to say. You don’t have to agree, but you should respect the work they’ve done. Ask as much as they’ll answer and take notes. THIS CANNOT BE OVERSTATED!
At the end of the day, you should be motivated to be the best in your field. If you aren’t, you probably aren’t reading this anyway. If you are motivated, stay hungry and always try to sharpen the sword. Read as much QUALITY information as possible. Fitness magazines make money through advertisements and tend to be watered down articles. Find good research on a topic you’re interested in and see if you can pick up some good info. Work in some books by good authors that have actual experience in your realm. Finally, talk to actual people that were once in your shoes. Stay persistent and utilize these concepts on your way to success.
Have some other ways you further your education? Post your methods below to share how you find ways to get better.