There is a learning crisis both at work and in the world. It affects our ability to thrive in fast-changing times – at work, in careers, at home — lifelong. It’s a crisis because our ability to continually evolve is essential for quality decisions and creating the future of society, organizations, and our and our children’s quality of work and life. Having worked globally on massive change initiatives in companies and agencies, it’s clear to me that the most essential ingredient in change – each individual’s ability to prepare for and thrive in it — is NOT up to today’s challenges. We need a new focus and, beyond that, a way of thinking that helps everyone, as psychologist Robert Kegan says, to move out of dependency into a way of life and learning that is self-authoring and self-transforming. Learning is the fuel for this shift.
The most obvious implication of a world that requires learners to constantly adapt and grow is the need to build the capacity and motivation for lifelong learning. (PEW Report, 2019)
Many adults are stuck in the learning Dark Ages, tackling 21st Century learning situations with 19th Century mindsets and practices. This in spite of major advances in neuroscience, developmental psychology and adult development that everyone should know and use in their personal lifelong evolution. It’s time for better learning. Technology is getting smarter and we are at risk of becoming “dumber” in response.
To survive, to THRIVE, we must be better learners!
Learning is a meta-skill that affects everything you do, what you are able to achieve and contribute at work and in life, and more . First and foremost, it is a personal capability. It determines how fully you will evolve, how you think, how you read and listen, how you interact with others, and even your confidence to thrive in fast-changing times. It includes your ability to notice when there’s an opportunity to learn (we miss many each day). Concentration, memory, bias detection, skill-building, attitude change, even creativity and innovation are part of or depend on your learning prowess. So does your ability to follow through on goals and dreams, to implement the habit changes important to you, and to get what you need from the vast array of resources that seem to overwhelm today.
Is it time to upgrade your learning based on these new insights and to meet today’s learning challenges? Let’s go a bit deeper.
Here are 5 big reasons why, no matter what your job or age, it’s critical to expand and sharpen this most important human capability– your ability to learn.
- For ongoing work and career success
- To thrive (survive?) in an information saturated world
- To co-evolve with technology
- To help others learn
- To evolve yourself; be the most you can be in life
In the next five posts, I’ll focus on each of the above reasons, hoping that your awareness of yourself as a learner (continually developing person) will increase and that you will want to master the advanced capabilities you will need as we accelerate toward the Singularity: the time (sometime before 2045) that futurists predict computer smarts will exceed ours.
Hopefully, these posts will seed conversations that bring learning out of that closet where we store meta-skills like decision-making, interpersonal communication, and (of course) learning, that we think we’ve mastered, but have taken for granted and not updated for the times.
Next up: Reason #1 (of 5) to upgrade yourself as a learner: For Ongoing Personal and Work Success