Today starts a new day in the never-ending mission to keep learning. I have been tasked with the privilege of teaching a new course at the college in our little town. The class covers basic security concerns that plague our industry. The CompTIA Cybersecurity Analyst certifications (CySA+) measures knowledge such as threat and vulnerability management, software and systems security, security operations and monitoring, incident response, and compliance. This new certification is harder than their older more accepted Security+ and is recommended to take after passing the security+. This will bring new challenges for the students as well as my ability to convey a new subject.
They say two things define us. Our patience when we have nothing and our humility when we have everything. The greatest thinkers on the planet are perpetual learners. One of the best things about life is that we never have to stop learning. There are always new skills to learn and techniques for us to adopt. When you look at the most successful people in the world, they understand this. Warren Buffet spends most of his time reading. The best entrepreneurs in the world don’t act like they know everything. They all understand the fact that they have to continuously learn to be successful.
For us to live life to the fullest, we must continually look for ways to improve. Even in our own companies, we should strive to help our organizations in areas that are outside of our comfort zone. Companies from all over the world have recognized this. Billion-dollar examples like Zappos and Facebook invest heavily into their own employees. Realizing the power of teaching, they promote from within and support their staff to learn skills to bring back to the company.
If you aren’t actively looking to learn new things, here are three reasons why you might want to rethink your strategy. Self-growth is key for us to live fulfilling lives and to have a successful career.
1. You will become happier
Learning is tough and can be frustrating. This is especially true when we talk about taking on new sports like Crossfit, or pushing our brain to the limits trying to code. But although the task is hard, nothing is greater than reaching your accomplishment. For highly challenging goals like learning to write software, it is such an amazing feeling when your code works bug-free. When we play sports, beating our personal records gives a high like none other.
Several studies have shown that the more ambitious goals that we set, the happier we are. And when we decide our own goals, our happiness is not reliant on others. We pick how many hours we practice, and we take ownership over what we achieve. Personal development is a way to guarantee us serenity from within.
2. You’ll become irreplaceable to your team
The person who can adapt the most wins. This is a piece of advice I learned reading about fighter pilots in the Air Force. It is not about the strength of the plane, but instead, it’s the ability to react to different situations that make a fighter jet. The best fighter pilots can adjust to more circumstances than the norm, making them much deadlier.
This same idea can be applied to our value to our organizations. If you can only sell your product, you are limited by your contribution. If you can sell, build and run operations, now you’ve become irreplaceable.
3. You’ll stay humble
Every interaction you have is a chance to learn something. One of the recent ways I’ve learned this is through watching Ted Talks. What I love about these short speeches is that you can learn so much about subjects you thought you’d have no interest in. But by keeping an open mind, you discover patterns in how people present their talks that you can learn from. It just shows you that no matter whom you meet, there is always something valuable to learn from the encounter.
4. You’ll become a great coach
The only way to mastery is through teaching. One of the best feelings in the world is teaching others what you’ve learned. Not only will it affect the person you’re teaching, but also they in turn will teach others.
As a leader of your organization, you need to make learning a part of your culture. A way to start this is by teaching others what you’ve learned over time. You want to become such a great teacher that your company can run itself without you there. When you’ve achieved that, you’ve truly accomplished the state of mastery.
Thanks to everyone who pushed me to keep learning. Stay strong.