The Discipline of Learning

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[vimeo id = "119271995"] There are a growing number of speakers and educators who talk of “life-long learning.” All throughout my life I’ve believed in the importance of learning. As Christ-followers, we must be constant champions of learning. When you make growing and learning a priority, you will constantly be re-evaluating your life and leadership skills. This is why real leaders are life-long learners. This is also why I want to share a few thoughts from my upcoming book, Nine Disciplines of Enduring Leadership to help develop your own discipline of learning

First, those who refuse to learn are falling behind. With the advent of the technology revolution and its continual development, things are changing faster and more drastically than at any time in recorded history.  This means that the demand for learning is also increasing which is seen even in the development of adult nontraditional programs at colleges. More and more adults are finding it necessary to go back to college to complete advanced degrees or change careers. Of course, not all learning is “formal” education. I learned a great deal from “informal” education when I was mentored by people such as John Wallace and Fred Cottriel. This is one reason I greatly emphasize the role of mentoring in leadership. So always be a champion of new learning.

Another factor in this discipline is the human “law of inertia” which can discourage our desire to learn. Very simply, if we aren’t intentional about learning, we just won’t learn. Once we leave our formal education, we have the more difficult task of becoming self-directed learners. Without this discipline, we tend to drift toward efficiency rather than effectiveness, activity instead of productivity. We become experts at what it is in front of us and we lose touch with those who are beside us. However, this kind of stagnation will compromise any person’s ability to lead effectively or live out their divine design.

Lastly, adults learn in response to a real or perceived need. Motivation is a key to success. This is true with learning also. Having measurable goals mapped out is important in staying motivated to learn. The term “cognitive dissonance” is used by adult educators to refer to the gap between what you know and what you need to know. In beginning the process to cross this gap, you need goals you can measure. This will take time (usually more time than you expected), but no leader expects their organization to effect all the necessary changes immediately. Always remember that the discipline of learning is about growing in knowledge and wisdom, and growing takes time.

Thank you for checking out my blog. This is an exciting time in the world to become a life-long learner. I encourage you to seek out both classroom education and mentorships as you grow in your discipline of learning. I hope these thoughts have encouraged you today. Feel free to respond below if you have some follow up thoughts or questions. Have a great day!