When I was in college – a few years ago – my main objective was to learn a discipline in four years. Back then, colleges and universities hoped that by teaching all this content, something else would rub off.
As students, we were supposed to figure out how to think critically, adapt, question things, become curious. A college degree was a way to learn how to learn.
That’s still the case today. As I talked to the parent of a college senior recently, I saw how very little has changed. This student was a biochemistry major, and the college was pushing medical school. There wasn’t consideration for how jobs and careers will change in the next decade and beyond.
Higher education hopes that in teaching a discipline or major – somewhere along the way – students learn how to learn.
But think about that in context of your career. Would you ever get four years to become proficient in a single discipline?
Of course not. And why not? Because the world is changing more quickly than that. It’s too long.
Way too long!
I believe today it’s actually more important we figure out how to adjust, be agile, and learn on the fly than ever before – to relearn how to learn.
I believe it’s more important to figure out how we learn to critically think. How we learn to challenge each other … to be courageous. That goes both ways, too. We don’t take offense to the questions, but when we ask, we do so in a respectful way.
One tool that seems lost in learning is the ability and willingness to question. The average four-year-old asks more than 300 questions a day. The average college grad asks just 20 questions a day.
How many questions do you ask? How can you – in a rapidly changing world – use the power of asking questions to learn? How can you ensure a culture of curiosity in your organizations, by learning how to ask more questions?
We need to become more inquisitive. More curious. I’m not saying that specific domain knowledge isn’t important. It is! It’s just not everything, like it used to be.
What you know right now is less relevant than what you can learn.
Regardless of any of your past achievements, your future depends on your ability to keep learning. It’s a reality today’s organizations have to embrace. It’s vitally important to take control of learning at work – improving ourselves, having hungry minds.
Our future depends on our ability to keep learning.