Advertising
Advertising

If I Am Living a Good Life, Why Should I Bother Learning New Stuff?

If I Am Living a Good Life, Why Should I Bother Learning New Stuff?

A person might have a great job, a nice house, and a great group of friends. They might feel they have everything they need, and so, they just settle, stop moving and pushing themselves. After all, their life seems to be going fine. You might have seen this with friends or acquaintances.

This is fine for a time; but the problem is, while a person stops moving or stops pushing themselves, the world keeps spinning. Time moves forward. Staying in the same place and not seeking self-improvement has the exact same effect as moving backwards.

We are living in a period of technological and social advancement never before seen. Technology has moved and developed more over the past one hundred years, than it had in the previous thousand. With this speed of advancement, it is easy to fall behind. Even if a person’s life seems to be going well now, and they don’t seek improvement, several years down the line, they may find that their lack of advancement, the lack of development in important skills may cause big problems in their lives.

From Evolving to Settling

Human beings, homo sapiens have been on this planet for roughly one million years. At the beginning, humans had nothing to protect themselves in order to survive in the world.

Advertising

    So humans started to invent basic tools and formed basic languages in order to survive.

      After some time, humans were satisfied with the things they developed because that was enough for basic survival. They could simply stop learning and creating new stuff.

        It was okay to stop learning new stuff in order to survive until the 19th century, where the rate of technological advancement increased at a rapid pace. In just over sixty years, we went from the first flight by the Wright Brothers to men walking on the moon.

        Advertising

        A few years later, with the widespread popularity of personal computers, the rate of human progress exploded. This is of course, an over simplification. But think about it, for the first time in history, not seeking self improvement, not moving forward with the rate of human progress, can be extremely dangerous. It’s perfectly possible for someone to fall behind the rate of technological and human progress.

        This isn’t just a vague possibility either. In the UK, it has been estimated that one in five is under threat of being automatized.[1] A person today who is comfortable in their job may find themselves replaced by a machine tomorrow. Many, many people might soon find themselves out of a job.

        Even outside of the job market, technology has changed our lives in countless ways. The average, most basic smartphone is a camera, a diary, a computer, a gaming device, a store, a library, a web browser, a clock, a telephone, a TV…and can be far more with extra apps.

        Not long at all ago, each of these things would have been a separate (and potentially very expensive) device, some would be impossible to carry around with you. It’s easy to take for granted. But imagine if you never got a smartphone and was happy with what you had before. You’d have missed out on a great deal of convenience.

        How to Stay Ahead

        Ultimately, no matter how hard you try, it’s impossible to predict how things will change over the next few years. We don’t know what skills will or won’t be needed. Nor do we know how our lives may change over the next few years. Something as simple as a new piece of technology can have an incredible impact on our lives (just think about the smartphone example from before). Because of this, you need to be ready to adapt and not fall into the trap of brief contentment.

        Advertising

        Keep testing what you know

        We all know how important it is to learn new skills, but again, it is easy to become quickly content with what you have, and with it, stop seeking improvement.  This is illogical. If you stop trying to improve your skills, you’ll find that your skill level doesn’t stay on the same level, but instead decreases. In addition, the market for that skill is ever changing.

        It’s like when you test a tool or device you have, to examine its functionality. Is it wind-proof or water-proof? There is no point keeping a tool that can’t do its job after all.

          It can be useful to pick one of your skills or an area of your life, then critically evaluate it. Ask yourself, how useful is it going to remain? How is it going to adapt or change to changing circumstances?

          Lets relate this example to writing skill. The standards and styles expected of a writer are constantly changing. The internet has had a big impact on the way people read and interact with a piece of text. A writer today needs to be aware of this. Were a writer to stop paying attention to the changing marketplace, and the things expected of them, then they’ll be less useful as a writer.

          Advertising

          Ditch the outdated and equip with the better

          After reviewing your skills and knowledge, you’ll be able to decide which should be ditched and which should be improved. It’s like throwing away old tools and devices that don’t work or are no longer useful, and replacing them with new, better ones.

            A careful evaluation of things in your life and your skills can be extremely useful. With it, you’ll be better able to see what might need changing or adapting, and what might be worth forgetting about.

            So although it is impossible to predict exactly how the world will change, with consideration of your skills and a desire to adapt, you’ll be able to find that you’re able to stay ahead of a changing world.

            I know it can be easy to become content, at the same time, pushing yourself and seeking change can be tough. But ultimately, this is something that can’t be sustained.

            Reference

            More by this author

            Brian Lee

            Chief of Product Management at Lifehack

            100 Incredible Life Hacks That Make Life So Much Easier 10 Best New Products That People Don’t Know About Book Summary: The Power of Habit in 2 Minutes 1 Minute Book Summary: How To Make People Like You in 90 Seconds or Less 2 Minutes Book Summary: Thinking Fast and Slow

            Trending in Smartcut

            1 How to Create Your Road Map to Success (A Step-By-Step Guide) 2 How to Ace an Interview: 10 Tips from a Professional Career Advisor 3 10 Websites To Learn Something New In 30 Minutes A Day 4 7 Most Difficult Languages In The World to Learn For English Speakers 5 7 Ways Learning a Language Will Make You a Better Person

            Read Next

            Advertising
            Advertising
            Advertising

            Last Updated on June 26, 2019

            How to Create Your Road Map to Success (A Step-By-Step Guide)

            How to Create Your Road Map to Success (A Step-By-Step Guide)

            Everyone has their own definition of what success means to them. Well, at least we all should by the very fact that no two individuals are created 100% alike.

            Our road map to success should be different to the person standing next to us. But we can get caught in the dangerous trap that someone else’s ideas of success should also be ours. Be careful.

            Regardless of whether or not we’re talking about your working career, business or personal life, it is truly hard to resist the contagious excitement surrounding those fantastic dreams and goals you allow yourself to explore.

            The ‘come-down’ after attending a euphoric state-inducing personal development seminar can often result in you feeling the slump of post-seminar blues. Worse still, your everyday circumstances don’t accommodate the changes you swore to make that weekend. Nothing changes.

            Get ready to kiss goodbye the post-seminar blues and skip to each destination on your roadmap to your successes. By repeating over and over these simple steps, the quality of your life will improve.

            You will want to use these steps as standard strategies to carry you toward further success in whatever shape or form you choose.

            1. Define What Success Means to You

            Is it just having enough money or more money than you might ever need that allows you to feel and judge yourself a success? Is it about having a beautiful house worth more than $2,000,000 on the upper east side of Manhattan?

            Is it about having a loving partner who supports you in your endeavors? Do you equally support each other?

            Is it through the tertiary education roadmap that you only feel valid you can make a meaningful and successful contribution to help the world economy turn? Is that your definition of success or is it someone else’s? Maybe your mom’s or your dad’s?

            When her daughter Christina found her on the floor of her office, in a pool of blood having hit her head and breaking her cheekbone as she fell, CEO of Thrive Global and celebrated author of Thrive, Ariana Huffington had a wake-up call in more ways than one.[1]

            The exhaustion and overwhelming stress which had led to her fainting drove Huffington to radically introduce new work ethics, values and rules at the editorial.

            Ten years on from her accident, Huffington still leads the conversational charge amongst global leaders to change the badge of honor that successful people need to work 24/7, and give everything of themselves and more, even it means compromising their health.

            As opposed to letting power and money be the two measurements of success, she explains wisdom, well-being, wonder and giving will give you greater success by nurturing your psychological well-being.

            Advertising

            We can’t argue with Huffington that without that, we are proverbially dead in the water.

            Warren Buffet stated the way he defines success nowadays has nothing to do with money:

            “I measure success by how many people love me”.

            You can’t but fall in love with the wisdom and nobility these words seem to reflect, but keeping it as your only definition of success is probably dangerous. Lacking today’s wisdom at 20 years of age, would Buffet have had the same definition of success?

            Think about where you are on your journey. You are likely to have different goals and different measures of success as you navigate your roadmap. Huffington and Buffet explain non-tangible ideas of success are crucial for our overall success.

            Let’s also not forget though that through tenacity, persistence and many other success habits, these business leaders also rate extremely high on the power and money metrics. However, that’s not all there is to it.

            If you are not sure how you would answer if someone asked you what your definition of success is, here are some clues to get you thinking and feeling.

            As your head hits the pillow and before you close your eyes, what’s most important is that you can internalize that you have chosen your definition of success and you can full responsibility and accountability for deciding upon it.

            2. Review Your Progress and Satisfaction in Life

            Review the main areas of your life. Not just those where you feel you need to make changes. Review all of them:

            • Your career vocation or business life;
            • Your relationships – your intimate or life partner, family and friends;
            • Money health and financial management strategies;
            • Commitment to your faith or religion and spiritual personal development;
            • Your physical and mental health;

            What leisure or recreational activities you pursue for fun to energize your spirit and enrich your soul.

            Do you have ideas of what success looks like for you in each of these areas?

            Neglecting to look at even one area is like trying to restore function to a beautifully crafted Swiss watch, whilst failing to attend to a rusty-looking cog in the tiny internal workings that needs attention. Turn one cog, the others all turn. Ignore a damaged one, the system malfunctions.

            For each area, give yourself a rating out of ten – one signifies the least satisfaction and ten signifies the most – and ask yourself the following questions to help you start identifying what’s important to you:

            Advertising

            • How satisfied or content with this area of my life am I presently?
            • Where would I like to live this current level of contentment to?
            • What would that new level of satisfaction look like, feel like?
            • How important is this area compared with the other areas of my life?

            Regardless of what areas you recognize need to be your core focus, consider making personal development and improvements to your physical and mental health, and well-being a constant feature of your action plan.

            You will need to continually recognize obstacles you’ll face from your outside world, as well as those internal psychological battles that will arise from within.

            Without your mental and physical health intact, it’s unlikely the rest of the ‘cogs’ are going to turn properly.

            3. Get to Know Your Values and Priorities

            Don’t make the mistake of thinking goal setting can be done in one sitting. You want to make sure the pursuits you put down on paper aren’t fly-by-night moments of excitement that ebb and flow with the rise and fall of tidal trends.

            Become better at identifying your priorities by exploring how you feel about each of your life areas. Think about the ratings of satisfaction you might have denoted for each. And now write down what you want to be, do and have.

            Put aside your initial literary ramblings and revisit them in a couple of weeks or one month. Without looking at your initial thoughts, do the process again and see what consistencies show up. What keeps coming up as feeling important? Around what ideas is there the same yearning or emotional pull?

            If you’re unsure about what you feel you wish to head towards, be in allowance of this. Don’t be jumping to quickly fill the void. The desperation is likely to have you catching the tail of the last exciting concept in fear of missing out, or trying to fill the void of excitement you yearn for.

            Increase your practice of pausing and asking yourself:

            Why does this resonate with me? Could this be a distraction which complicates the route I have mapped out? Am I becoming that person who proverbially chases two rabbits and catches none?

            In his book The Heart of Love, Dr. John Demartini explains how becoming strongly aware of your values and priorities helps you understand why you are and where you are in your life at any given moment.

            If you don’t know what you feel you stand for, look at where you direct your time, energy and attention. Look at your behavior and work backward.

            You might think making money and creating financial wealth is high on your radar. However, if you spend more than you earn and allocate money to depreciating objects as opposed to appreciating assets, your behavior is inconsistent with those typical of someone who is financially astute.

            Look back to your areas of life and ask yourself if the goals you have set are in alignment with your values. Look at your daily behaviors and ask yourself if the way you operate satisfies steps which take you further toward those goals.

            Advertising

            If not, all is not lost. You’ve simply got some harsh truths and reality checks to face before you can go any further on your roadmap to success.

            4. Make Room Deliberately to Work with a Coach

            You have to come to terms with the fact that you’re likely to be swimming against the tide.

            Once you make clear unwavering decisions about what goals you’re aiming for, prepare to be un-liked, unpopular, criticized and potentially ostracized. There’s a high possibility you’ll lose the friendship and support of some however you will gain new friends and the support of others.

            Regardless of what area/s of life your goals pertain to, make room to work with a coach. Choose wisely who that person will be to encourage and walk beside you.

            Whether it be a certified coach, a family friend/mentor or qualified therapist, find someone who knows how to work with the specific issues and challenges that lay ahead without any agenda other than your success.

            Having that impartial guide can be an invaluable constant. This helps keeps you on the straight and narrow even if other areas of your life aren’t going swimmingly.

            5. Get Highly Familiar with Your Habits and Behaviors

            Despite the scientific evidence in support of it, we’re not recommending you need to start getting up at 5:00 am and exercising for an hour before you even think about starting your day.

            You should start asking yourself these questions far more frequently:

            • How well do you know your habits and routine ways of operating?
            • Do you know what choices and patterned behaviors help or hinder you?

            You know what you want to work on. Greater clarity on your values has enabled you to discern which priorities are high on your list and which ones are low. It’s now time to reinforce and reward the habits that carry you forward on your roadmap to success, and adjust those habits which delay or divert you staying on course.

            Remember though that part of the joy of the human experience is to be fallible, so don’t suddenly shelve all those character-building ‘vices’. Your flaws are a necessary part of your unique success jigsaw puzzle; they are the inspiring reasons you’re going on this journey in the first place.

            Demartini and New York Times journalist and author Charles Duhigg both explain in their books how recognizing your unhelpful behavioral patterns needs to take place first. You identify the emotional and psychological rewards which rule over whether you sustain, break or make a habit.

            When you know the rewards that light you up like a Christmas tree, you link them to new or modified habits that support values you want to make a higher priority.

            Say you love eating out. You love artisan cuisine and get giddy at watching the episode of Heston Blumenthal create chocolate water in his food chemistry laboratory. As much as you say you want to increase your investment in appreciating assets, your spending habits speak otherwise.

            Advertising

            So, you might start looking for discount opportunities on your higher-end dining. The dishes may not rival Heston’s masterpieces, but your taste buds still enjoy a culinary roller coaster AND you also now to get feel-good allocating the discounted amount to a saving’s program.

            Your tummy is singing as is your bank account. The whole experience goes well beyond short-term gratification and satisfies several values and goals.

            Tweaking habits and forming new ones isn’t hard; it’s just a matter of finding a happy marriage. Take time to find it. There will always be ways.

            6. Celebrate the Wins and Monitor Your Progress Along the Way

            You must become good at deliberately rewarding yourself when you make changes that take you further along your roadmap to success.

            Professor of cognitive neuroscience Dr. Tali Sharot explains how the brain responds and adapts far better to rewards than punishment when it comes to learning behavior and creating new habits.[2]

            When we apply punishment, we reinforce the traumatic memory as being more important than the actual lesson we might have been meant to learn in the first place.

            When we gamify rewards on our success journey, we inject fun and humor. We also reduce the stress that often comes with learning new things, habits and adjusting to new ways of being, doing and having.

            Final Thoughts

            If you hit a progress plateau at any point, you might need to allow yourself to plateau and switch your attention to another priority.

            The switch may allow you to think more freely and clearly about how to move past your roadblock. Or it might simply be a good time to stop and smell the roses.

            Your muscles grow stronger in their resting phase after a workout. Animals hunt profusely to build up their energy stores before going into hibernation.

            Remember that continually forging ahead is not a natural rhythm. Repeat the cycle of rest, recovery and rallying forward then…start again.

            More About Success

            Featured photo credit: Tabea Damm via unsplash.com

            Reference

            Read Next