Personal Commitment To
Written By: Ibby Smith Stofer
Our sons, daughters, and grandchildren have returned to in-person instruction and hopefully abandoned the monotony of online classrooms. Overall, it appears there is great joy and enthusiasm toward embracing friends, hearing each other’s ideas, and students are generally just plain happy to be in school again. It does not matter if they are 6 or 16! As I observed this firsthand, it raised a question for me, that frankly, I had not thought about for quite some time.
When was the last time I was a student? Certainly, it could not be the day in the late ’60s when I graduated college. And it could not be the day I left my 30-plus-year career with a medical device company. No, none of those seem right. I have had to adjust to remote work, an interim move, several roles, and responsibility changes in the last decade. In every new role I undertook throughout my life, learning was essential.
Every day presents an opportunity for each of us to embrace new ideas and challenges and to learn new things. For example, if your commute has become a sea of slow-moving cars, you have a choice to follow the same route, or you can seek an alternate way to your destination. One thing is almost certain – if you do nothing to change what you are currently doing, the opportunity to find additional knowledge or solutions will not come to you.
Our worlds, both business and personal, are continually changing, and we need to be as well. It takes courage and commitment to face change. Are your customers the same as the ones you first dealt with when you entered the business world? Are the needs and wants of the others you interact with the same as a decade ago? Are they the same as they were a year or six months ago? Are your colleagues or friends the same? Likely not. Once we become comfortable in a routine, we tend to avoid trying new things, learning new things, and actually doing them. Most have a natural avoidance to change in many of our daily activities. What if we choose to see change differently? Could we see change as an adventure and enjoy the lifelong learning opportunities that accompany it?
“ Today more than ever before, the ways to invest in learning and trying new things abounds.
Today more than ever before, the ways to invest in learning and trying new things abounds. You can go online and learn how to do almost anything. If you want to watch someone else show you how, the access is virtually unlimited. If you prefer to read and make notes, there are downloadable tools as well as apps that let you annotate what you read. Podcast topics are unlimited as well.
While many theorists once believed that human development peaks at age 20-25, we increasingly understand the importance of learning to help us develop into our old age. We might call learning in older ages the “getting of wisdom.” We don’t just learn new things: we also use our past knowledge to become better at thinking through situations.
Ask yourself, if I do make time or invest in myself, will the result be rewarding? Will it be fun to learn again? Only you can answer those questions. But from the way our youngsters are celebrating their return to the world of learning, it makes me want to feel that spirit and enthusiasm again. I know I will give it a try. Will you? Let’s begin a lifelong learning adventure!