I love learning. Always have, always will.
In the past week I’ve sat a digital marketing exam, taken part in an online sales workshop, listened to several podcasts and read a self-development book. My thirst for knowledge is never-ending, but I don’t do it to prove anything to anybody. I do it because I enjoy it, and I know that it brings significant benefits to my life and the way that I live it.
I love to learn and try new things as doing so expands my mind and brings new possibility into my life. The older I get, the more I understand myself and how the various parts of my brain work - sometimes together, often not! In amongst its workings I know that I’m happiest when I’m on a journey of discovery of self-fulfilment and self-development. This can be anything, from the obvious path of studying on a course, to random mini feats such as learning the names of butterflies that land in my garden; there’s an app for everything these days!
Far from being contrived, I’m genuinely driven by my values as I consciously work towards creating a constantly better me. Standing still has never been an option. I know that to improve and grow as a person I have to keep challenging these values and beliefs. I’ve come to realise over the years that it’s not about who or what’s right or wrong, it’s about seeing alternative viewpoints and opinions and trying to understand them. This is where the real learning is done.
The world is constantly changing, and I believe that to get the most out of life you have to change with it. Take the current Covid-19 situation. All of us to varying degrees have had to adapt to dramatically different changes in our lives, with long periods bunkered together in our homes, home schooling and home working, job losses and social isolation to name but a few. There’s no doubt that during this time that as we’ve faced the numerous challenges we’ve learned a great deal about ourselves and others. At the same time there’s been a wave of positivity as we’ve used the time wisely to try new things. Participation in running, cycling and online fitness have grown exponentially, with more cerebral pursuits such as course studies, and craft activities including baking and making clothes. All of these new-found passions have opened us up to the possibility of something different and potentially better in our lives.
getting it wrong
One thing I’ve taken as given as I aspire to learn and grow is that I’m going to get things wrong, and as a result I’m not afraid to do so. At best we’re ethical beings with rational thoughts and balanced judgements that want to do the right thing by others. At worst we’re insecure, emotional machines with racing thoughts and overwhelming feelings that drag us into uncomfortable places. We all experience these extremes to varying degrees, depending on the individual. However, I’ve come to learn that life is what you make it, not what it throws at you, verbalised beautifully by one of my all-time favourite quotes:
“Character is what happens when life scratches itself onto your soul”
…This is always my go to reference point whenever I screw up and/or when things go wrong, which is more often than I’d like, but I’m only human! What matters in these instances is that you retain humility, take the learnings and use them as stepping-stones to move on.
I wholly believe that the best learning is done with the support of others. I try my best to surround myself with people who have a positive influence on me, and I on them of course. The mutual benefits, aside from companionship and sharing fantastic experiences together, are that we nurture and develop each other, we trust in each other, and we protect and stand by each other. The key learning is done through being able to give each other reality checks in an open and honest forum of respectful friendship.
There’s some learning that’s pretty much compulsory such as gaining a qualification to be able to practice in a certain field - medical exams to become doctors, nurses and therapists for example. Then there’s the learning that you do in pursuit of a hobby or interest - how to swim better, how to make great food… the list is endless. Regardless of your quest it’s the sheer act of learning and the variety that brings richness to your life.
And that’s my point. I constantly look back on my life with a sense of gratitude and satisfaction that I’ve tried so many different things and learned so much about myself and others in doing so. Dragon boating, baking, running, drumming, martial arts, map reading, athletics, gardening, and then the more obvious academic undertakings. The list, and the enjoyment, is endless. I’ve learned lots, failed lots, and regretted nothing, which in turn has given me hope every single day of my life…
…Now I just hope that I’ve passed that bloody Digital Marketing exam that I’ve been getting up to study and revise for at 5.30am every weekday for the past 5 months!
As ever this is an open invitation to drop me a line to share your thoughts about this blog, and indeed any other marketing topic that you want to discuss: