Nothing is work unless you’d rather be doing something else. — George Halas
Doors slam tight in the job market, if one is unwilling to embrace change by developing a taste for acquiring new skills.
Even though technology has brought to modern life an almost ceaseless bounty of new experiences, and unlimited possibilities, it can sometimes be overwhelming to contemplate new devices and applications, with more continually looming on the horizon.
Also, quite often being bilingual is a necessary requirement for employment.
It is a knowledge fueled economy, but that sinking feeling that one is almost always ‘a day late and a dollar short’ in the knowledge department, and therefore repeatedly scrambling to compete in the marketplace, can take over and rob us of taking advantage of the potentiality out there.
So it’s carpe diem time. Here are ten strategies for staying on top of the knowledge rat race:
ONE — Take the time to assess your interests so that you aim yourself in the right direction from the start. What gets you fired up? Are you interested in fitness? Do you like working with numbers? Put another way, be sure you are headed in a direction that can keep you going when the more mundane chores set in, rather than heading in a certain direction because you feel some obligation to do so. This is your life — do it your way!
TWO — Assess the skills you already have, and add to those skills in a thoughtful and deliberate fashion. Learning new things randomly, rather than systematically, will not build an arsenal of readily usable skills that can translate into better opportunities. In other words, if you already know Word and Excel, but don’t know other applications in Microsoft Office, check to see what you should learn next by studying online job posts in the areas that interest you. You may find Outlook is next, followed by PowerPoint and Access, if the types of jobs you’re looking for generally list Word, Excel, and Outlook as required, and PowerPoint and Access as a plus.
THREE — Tackle new information in small increments, in small blocks of time, and do so daily to reinforce what you are learning. A weekend marathon ‘cram session’ just to pass a test is hardly the road to mastery and excellence.
FOUR — If at all possible, do what you least wish to do early in your day before you have a lot of excuses to procrastinate until tomorrow. If you’re taking evening classes, reinforce what you learned the night before with a review session as early as possible the following morning.
FIVE — Periodically relate what you are studying to your bigger picture. If your ultimate plan is to live and work in France, studying French now will help you position yourself to achieve your goal later. When you remind yourself that something infinitely more exciting is just around the corner, you create a ‘carrot’ for yourself and you are motivated to work through any momentary tedium.
SIX — Give yourself further incentive by creating the right study atmosphere. If France is your goal, hang up French themed posters, or listen to music from France.
SEVEN — Remind yourself continually that these new skills you are acquiring are going to translate into new and better opportunities very quickly (unlike, for example, studying something like ancient history which is fascinating but not usually immediately translatable into career opportunities). It is also important to note that your newfound opportunities may be opportunities you hadn’t even envisioned in planning your original goals. In other words, remind yourself that you are likely to reap ‘dividends’ from your efforts.
EIGHT — Think of learning new things as a perk — as a gym membership for your brain. It’s no accident that websites like Lumosity are so popular. Working the brain in new ways improves cognitive abilities, making us better able to reason and communicate.
NINE — Be sure to remind yourself that once you’ve learned the basics, you never have to relearn the basics. Rather, you are poised to continue to build on the basics. Translation? It just gets easier and easier the farther into a new subject you get.
TEN — Make whatever you are studying as fun as possible. Use a special notebook, different colored inks, different colored note cards — heck, use finger paints to hand write your notes — do whatever it takes — be creative and playful in your approach to learning.
What tips do you have for acquiring new skills? Please leave your thoughts in the Comments section below.
In the meantime,