Lifelong learning

Luna Schrøder
Luna Schrøder

I know that I know nothing - Socrates (469 - 399 B.C.)

How often are we not confronted today - especially in our professional lives - with the same statement that we know nothing? This is not about the entire knowledge of the earth. Rather, it is in our everyday professional life above all about the fact that we are not at all familiar with many specialized areas or can expand our soft skills or even in our own area of specialization again and again notice that we can still learn something new.

Learning without end

After school, we thought that learning had come to an end - or at least soon, as soon as you had completed your education and studies. But then in our first job and every time we move to a new position or company, we find that there are gaps in our knowledge and skills.

Man learns all his life. For themselves as a person, but also in order to be able to use their abilities in society and at work. Globalization and digitalization bring us into a completely new situation, in which we compete with many more people for knowledge and skills than in the past generation. On the other hand, technical progress and changes require permanent adaptation and further development of the individual if we do not want to be left behind.

For many, that sounds like an exhausting undertaking. In any case, everyday life is already full enough, with work, family, hobbies, compensatory activities, and extra-occupational obligations. Where should further education fit in? And which one if any? Some people feel overwhelmed by the endless possibilities offered by countless educational institutions, providers, institutes and specialist organizations. And this combination of the pressure to further one's education and development, the feeling of generally having little time, and the fear of choosing the wrong program from the oversupply - in the end spending time, money and energy in vain - ends up being inactive for many.

Decision Guidance

Anyone who is prepared in principle and wants to continue their education, but finds it difficult to orientate themselves and make a decision, has various options. You can first talk to your superior. This would be a good first step, anyway, because maybe he/she is even willing to bear the costs for further education (at least partly). In addition, he/she may have ideas for the content and orientation of the training. Your superior knows you as an employee on both a professional and personal level and can therefore recommend topics that will help you progress in your company's context, but that will also suit your character as an employee and your existing skills. Furthermore, psychologically speaking, there is another impetus for starting and completing further training when other people and the supervisor are aware of it.

You can, however, also orient yourself to colleagues, friends and persons who you perceive as role models for the selection of subject areas and providers - provided that their abilities and interests are broadly in line with your own. See what these people are occupied with and perhaps you will discover a training course, a program, from which you can even open doors to other topics. You will broaden your horizons in every way.

Learning at a different level

In addition to the specific knowledge that is needed, for example, in connection with technological change, it is also important to have something else in many areas of the company. For many managers, it is not primarily a question of their employees accumulating the technical skills or even collecting certificates, but rather it is about a fundamental attitude. It is about the attitude of wanting to improve oneself; about an open mind with openness for new things; about the intrinsic will to do things better tomorrow than you did yesterday and about accepting challenges with a confident mood. And with this in mind, there are many other ways we can learn throughout our lives. Without attending major training programs and taking qualification courses in the evenings, but with many small things and habits in everyday life, such as learning:

  • Through watching and observing
  • Through reading
  • Through listening to others
  • Through thinking
  • Through consciously practicing and training our abilities and knowledge
  • Through trying things out
  • Through overcoming difficulties and obstacles
  • Through daring to fail
  • And simply through tackling and doing things
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