No one; however, you MUST make the time. I realize that it is often times at the bottom of your priority list, as there are endless daily tasks – people to call, work to complete, events to attend, etc. And, these tasks can be important to your career, finding / retaining a job and to your family life. Of course, it is not a good plan to ignore your family in order to continually learn; however, life-long learning should be one of your key priorities throughout the year.

Why? In my experience, those people with a life-long learning attitude end up with the best of all worlds, even though they undoubtedly sometimes depriortize those daily tasks in favor of life-long learning. There are no “magic pill solutions”. It is a philosophy of daily life, similar to how quality and safety programs do not “work” if they are just an event; they only “work” if they are integrated into daily operations. Life-long learning tends to make the person an item of interest. How can it not be a good idea for your personal life and career to be an item of interest? After all, especially in today’s business and job market, if you do not stand out in the crowd, you have lost the race before you get off the start line.

This subject came to me when I met with a friend and former business colleague last week. Instead of just going to lunch to catch up on what’s happening in our lives, she suggested a tour of her manufacturing facility prior to lunch. While on the tour, I thought about how similar completely unique businesses’ manufacturing processes can be. Now that tidbit will likely come in handy in a future client conversation. Also, this friend is a life-long learner and was getting ready to start tax classes in preparation for learning the next level of tax planning for the upcoming tax season, which is obviously quite different from her daily job related to inventory and procurement. Lastly, she gave me a brochure for a trade show she thought might be of interest to me. Now, how’s that for value? In another example, I recently took my brother for a medical procedure, and we talked about his electrical engineering job while waiting. He is a life-long learner. Although an engineer, he is continually reading and has a degree in English as well; however, recently, he realized that he needed to continually refine his technical skills and so took 4+ classes in various subjects he thought might prove useful for his knowledge.

I’ve always believed in this concept but lately I’ve noticed the significant difference it makes over time. And, it is NEVER too late to start. I read within the last year about a 100yr old who graduated from university. I bet she brought a different perspective to the classes she attended!