Every day, we are exposed to new things. The routines may be the same, but the trends change. What once was in vogue becomes outdated. And what’s the new thing today will soon be old too.
Only those who can adapt to the ebbs and flows of the rhythm of life can stay on top consistently. To succeed once? That’s easy. To do it consistently? That’s the stuff of legends (and it’s harder too). It’s why we have many one-hit wonders – stars in one season but irrelevant in the next.
It doesn’t have to be this way. Becoming a lifelong learner is one way to ensure you continue to produce the kind of results you require to stay on top perpetually.
Becoming a Lifelong Learner
No matter what you’ve done till now, no better advice can be given than to say you better remain a student. It is not enough only to be a student at the beginning of life. It is a position that you have to assume while life lasts. Not even your HARD goals or proper planning can replace the need for this attitude.
Learn from everyone and everything. From the people you beat and those who beat you; from the people you love and those who hate you. At every step of the way, there is an opportunity to learn and you have to seize it.
Ego is the Enemy
Unfortunately, we mostly don’t. As Ryan Holiday puts it in his book, “Ego is the Enemy.”
With accomplishment and success comes a growing feeling that you know more than you do. It causes people to pretend like they know everything. Scientia infla (knowledge puffs up). We begin to think we’re set and secure when in reality understanding and mastery is a fluid, continuous process.
As the physicist, John Wheeler, who helped develop the hydrogen bomb once said, “As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance.” Don’t let ego stop you from learning things you previously didn’t know.
The solution is as straightforward; Pick up a book on a topic you know next to nothing about. Put yourself in rooms where you’re the least knowledgeable person. Learn a tangential skill to what you already do. Commit to becoming a lifelong learner and you’ll see it’s easy to stay on top consistently that way.