Remember the phrase in the movie Glengarry Glen Ross, “Always be closing?” Well, I think we should “Always be learning.” How I wish I had this mindset while I was still in school. But in truth, it wasn’t until well into my career that I realized the benefits of continuing my education. It is now so important to me that I make it a daily task to learn something new every single day.
Ben Franklin once said: “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”
Successful people invest in learning. In fact, the more successful, the more they commit to learn. Billionaire Mark Cuban is reported to read three hours per day. Warren Buffett claims that he spends 80% of his time reading and thinking. Brendon Burchard, author of High Performance Habits, reported that the most successful people he studied set aside time every week for learning. Books and studies show that high performers study and practice their craft at an intensity much higher than others.
So why do you want to always be learning? Here are five reasons why we should put such a great value on learning:
- 1.) Continued learning may lead to new opportunities. Jobs and our industry are changing rapidly. You may have trained to be a fitness professional, but that role is changing. We are seeing trainers step into life coaching, and group exercise instructors becoming online fitness providers. If nothing else, you want to continue to learn so that you can stay on top of new trends and stay relevant in your industry.
- 2.) Continued education may make you more marketable and may increase your income. Your new knowledge base may give you a unique skill that sets you apart from the rest. Your learning may directly teach you how to make more money or may indirectly make you more valuable to an employer.
- 3.) Learning will make you humble and happy. We are humbled when we realize all that we don’t know. In fact, there is always more to learn. But we don’t need to know it all to be happy. Learning in itself makes us happier because it raises confidence and a sense of self-efficacy.
- 4.) Continued learning will make you smarter. I know this sounds obvious but let me take it a step deeper. When you learn something new, you create new connections in your brain. I’m not going into the science, but it’s a process called myelation. This improved brain wiring will improve your brain function and help you in all aspects of memory.
- 5.) Focus on continued learning of a subject, and you can become a master. Think good-to-great and great-to-mastery! In our industry, we have great opportunity for mastery. In order to become a master, you must teach. Consider teaching what you’ve learned and bring it into your work.
We live in such an incredible time where it is so easy to access continuing education. Read, read, read. Listen to podcasts or audio books. Go to conferences. Check out online courses. Consider going beyond your niche. Consider learning about leadership, online marketing, social media, accounting. Figure out what skills may help round out your expertise.
There’s just one more thing not to forget -- the critical step of application. Apply your new knowledge as this is a key part of mastery.