Why is learning important for your business?
- By C L Haden -
- Jan 24, 2012
Why is learning important for your business? Here's a guest blog on building a business by growing your own knowledge...
“The wisest mind has something yet to learn”. - George Santayana
Building a business is like baking a cake – you have to have the right ingredients, the correct tools, a method whether detailed or a brief outline and a sense of eagerness for what you’re baking. Combine all and voilla un gateau delicieux.
In my previous blog I looked at how passion can be the missing ingredient and can be the deciding factor in whether you’re a successful entrepreneur or not. This time I’m going to be looking at another important ingredient that I think you need in order to succeed and this is the ‘ability to learn new things’.
The wonderful world of business is ever evolving and in my line of work if I didn’t have the knowledge of social media, Word Press, Photoshop and some basic understanding of HTML and SEO I would not have a line of work. This is something like it or not I’ve had to learn, there’s been some really frustrating moments (especially with Photoshop) and many highs. But learning these skills and developing them further has given me a competitive edge. It’s easy to become set in your old ways and question why you should have to over load your poor brain with more information; I could have refused and moaned on about how writers should only use quills and paper but then my bank manager wouldn’t have been so keen on upping my overdraft nor have the clients I do now.
I do appreciate that not everyone takes well to learning new things, in fact when I used to think of the word learning, I’d associate it with the horrible experiences I’d had at school and suddenly it would become my way or the high way. A few years on and I’ve taken a different attitude. As Ray Leblond says: "You learn something new every day if you pay attention." For example, today I learnt how to make rice and it worked. I’ve been making rice for some time now, but it’s always undercooked, sloppy and generally unpleasant. Today I decided not to conform to Einstein’s definition of insanity – and therefore did something different. I looked at the cooking instructions and 12 minutes later I had fluffy rice. It wasn’t so scary and I’d like to think Einstein would be highly amused but somewhat proud.
What kind of learner are you?
It’s very important that you find out how you take in information. There are three main representational skills that we use. Whilst most of us tend to use all three, we are led by predominantly one although some do have the natural ability to use all equally.
Visual learners: learn best by watching videos, prefer visual aids such as pictures, flip charts and anything with bright colours on. The more attractive it looks, the more they will take in the information. They use language such as “I see what you are saying” or “I can see where you’re coming from”.
Audio learners: take in information by sound and they’re not as concerned with how it’s visually presented; talking books and podcasts are ideal for audio listeners. They use language such as “I hear what you’re saying” or “I like the sound of that”.
Kinesthetic learners: are known as doers. They like to physically carry out an activity rather than listening or being shown how to; they use language that describes feelings, and textures.
Establishing your representational skill is vital as it will make the learning journey a lot easier for you.
The inner gremlin
It’s rather easy to tell yourself that you’re stupid or too old to learn new tricks. The real fact is, you’re out of your comfort zone and your ego is doing the rumba. Recently I took on a contract which looked easy on paper but the reality was much different. Thankfully I have a fantastic trainer who is patient with me but from time to time I do tell myself that my brains just not wired like it should be. But then I have to remind myself that walking was once like this and it’s only because I’ve been doing it for 21 years that it’s become second nature.
When learning I perform the following:
• Assess how it’s going to benefit me
• Identify my most used representational skill
• Practise until it becomes second nature
• Reward myself for every new thing I learn
Your business will thank you because?
• You will be able to offer your clients new products, services, and skills.
• You will remain competitive.
• Learning new things opens up the idea flood gates – you will be able to expand in ways you never knew possible.
As Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr says: "Man’s mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimension."
And why would we want it to?
Image by Happy Batatinha on Flickr
By C L Haden.
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