We don't know everything - and that's okay. I took a step back and noticed a pattern or habit I had now in comparison to how I spent time three years ago. When I first started working, I was literally a clean slate. I absorbed everything and tried to learn anything I could whenever I could. Now, I find myself seeking that extra education a bit less. I see a webinar talking about this new platform, this article talking about another case study or white paper research and will glance over those learning opportunities more often than I used to.
Sure, my priorities and workload has changed. My outside-of-work life has changed. I don't have the extra time like I used to have to read every new study or Twitter chat talking about the newest marketing and PR trend. I have to budget my time more efficiently now and somehow learning is starting to creep back towards the bottom.
Learning Requires An Attitude of Humility
I think a large part of why I skip over a lot of educational opportunities is that I have this attitude that I won't hear anything I don't already know. In some cases, depending on the white paper or session that could be true. We all have those continuing education opportunities that may be below our personal knowledge thresholds. Still, catching myself believing that I knew more than I really did in the space was a bit alarming.
Being able to learn something new requires us to admit to ourselves that we don't know everything. That's a huge barrier to overcome that we often fail to recognize it as a barrier - which is what makes it so daunting. Even if you have been in X industry for decades, there is always something new to learn. Even if the information isn't knew, the perspective from the person sharing is new. We can always re-learn old concepts and see them in new ways.
An Old Dog Seeks Out New Tricks
My grandfather is a great example of this. He was an electrical engineer at GE and carried several patents on washers and dryers. In addition to that, he was also a master electrician and had been wiring houses since before he was even a teenager. The guy knows just about everything there is to know about electricity, currents and appliances. Even with decades of practical knowledge and wisdom - and even though he has been retired for nearly twenty years - he still goes to continuing education classes and certification classes to stay up-to-date. He could probably teach those classes cold but still takes time to learn.
I know enough about marketing, technology and PR to know that I don't know enough about marketing, tech and PR. I probably never will for the entirety of my career. We work in a very results/productivity hour driven world. Taking time to stop and collect our thoughts and explore new alternatives could be frowned upon or not seen as an efficient use of hours.
However, we should always take time to learn. We should be open to learn from anyone, no matter how old (or young) the teacher in that moment is. If we don't stop and look around once in a while, we could miss something.
How do you maintain a student mentality? Who or what are your go-to resources of new information?