I know I have smart, well informed readers. I’m confident that most everyone who reads these words is someone I would call a lifelong learner.
That being said, I know you are thirsty for new knowledge and in that pursuit may begin to feel like I do sometimes, that you are getting some things figured out, and becoming an expert in some topics.
Your feelings is likely true – being on a learning path is likely moving you towards mastery – and it is important for many reasons that we don’t get too arrogant or full of ourselves.
Take these two recent events in my life.
The cruise. Last week I was on a cruise ship. As I looked out at the water one morning I was struck by the vastness of it. Of course I “knew” the oceans were large. I learned about how big the oceans were when I was in school. I know this is true, and yet I was reminded of how much more there is, how small I am.
The editorial. In this morning’s New York Times I read a short editorial titled How Many Leaves on the Tree of Life?, the short piece talks about estimates of how many species might exist on planet earth. The estimated cited? 8.7 million. The number currently classified? 1.25 million. (The piece says it would take “303,000 taxonomists working full tilt at a cost of $364 billion just to provide the most basic scientific description of all the unknown species.”)
Should this make us think it is futile to keep learning, to try to master a topic or situation?
Rather it must spur us on – in a humble, balanced recognition that our personal learning path must continue. Not because we will “know it all” or “figure it all out”, but because the more we learn, the better equipped we are to make a difference, for ourselves, and for those we serve and lead.
There are lots of books to read, lots of experience to be had, lots of people to learn from and with. Don’t get discouraged by this fact, and as you continue to learn, remember that the intricacies and opportunities to truly master something important to you won’t come quickly or easily either.
The proverb saya=s there are two best times to plant a tree. 20 years ago and right now.
Plant your learning tree troday.
You can’t afford to wait any longer!
Originally posted: Leadership & Learning with Kevin Eikenberry