Sunday, August 15, 2021

Life Lately: Are you getting the learning you need?

Taking in the grandeur of the Cathedral of Barcelona

I was discussing this post (Life Lately: Learn & Be Curious from April 25) with someone recently, and they told me how they were struggling to make the time for learning. It got me thinking about yet another post I shared with my Conversations newsletter group but never posted to this blog. I've reproduced it below and edited it to bring it up to date.


When last did you learn something new? It could have been a new Excel function or how to take better pictures. Think about it. Did you do any learning last week?

If you haven’t done any conscious learning recently, you’re not alone. Many of us struggle with this. Our lives can get so busy that it gets difficult to find time to learn. There are deadlines, errands, and new TV shows to watch! (I'm particularly loving Ted Lasso).

The problem is that de-prioritizing learning limits our ability to achieve our potential. Learning is an important bridge between where we are and where we want to be. Neglecting it sabotages our dreams and ambitions.

I was recently reading my journal from October 2019. In one entry, I outlined how I wasn't particularly enjoying consulting at my previous employer and I wanted a change. I then listed the skills I needed to highlight for the job I wanted (which is now my current one). That exercise helped me identify some important skills that weren't on my radar and that I wasn't getting an opportunity to develop given the types of consulting projects I was doing. Following that exercise, I went after those skills on my own time and chose projects that would let me develop them further.

It did not feel like a lot, but every minute I spent watching a YouTube video, learning SQL, or building models in R was one more step in the direction of a position I would find a lot more fulfilling.

But you probably knew learning was important already.

The opportunity area tends to lie in moving from knowledge to action. What will you do differently this week to make sure you’re getting the learning you need to reach your objectives?

Will you try devoting 1 hour today to reading a book, asking a friend for lessons, or watching a free course on YouTube?


What I'm currently reading: I particularly enjoyed this WSJ piece about people working two full-time jobs simultaneously. While I understand there are limited circumstances where people may need to work two full-time jobs at once (e.g. if neither job by itself pays enough to cover their expenses and meet their lifestyle requirements), I don't think it is a good idea to work two full-time jobs. Not if you care about doing great work (it's challenging enough to do really great work at one full-time job) or want to optimize for your long-term health, happiness, and fulfillment through the pursuit of other things in life.

What I'm currently listening toBarcelona by Freddie Mercury and Montserrat Caballé. I spent some time in Barcelona over the past week and fell in love with the city at first sight. I'm not even exaggerating - I knew I loved the city from before the plane even landed. This delightful song helps me articulate some of my feelings about this very lovely city.