Learning is a fundamental genetic behavior of all human beings. It can be traced back to our biological ancestors: apes and chimps. While eating ants, they realized that it was getting increasingly difficult to catch them inside an anthill. They took a stick, put it inside the anthill, so ants simply walk on them towards the outside.
We are always in the pursuit of making things easier than it was yesterday. It is a quality that is embedded in us.
Why should you learn at work?
This is a natural extension of our basic instincts. Most of us spend a significant portion of our days at the workplace. The maximum time and opportunity for you to be a better version of yourself is at work.
It is not thoughtful if someone didn’t use this time to learn. And this is exactly why you should choose a job that you like. You can’t be a better version of yourself if you’re not doing something you want to do.
Let’s say you are a writer who writes blogs for your company. While your current goal is making people buy something your company is selling, your ultimate goal might be to become an author of your own book. Your current goal is going to get you to your ultimate goal because you’re getting better at writing.
This translation of your short term objective into a long term goal is why learning at work is important.
The #1 learning hack
Let me point out a typical scenario in a meeting. Not everyone always speaks up. We hold back our thoughts, assuming we might be wrong. There is a virtual mask that holds our image, and asking something dumb might destroy it, and expose you as being a halfwit.
The greatest trick I follow to accelerate learning is to be vulnerable and ask questions even though you might be seen as a dumb person. When this happens, a studying process is triggered. Either someone answers your doubt, or you go back and read about it.
Of course, it might bother you for some time that you asked something petty and obvious. But the people who do this, embark on the journey of acquiring wisdom. These are the ones who become knowledgeable and turn out as leaders. People who don’t, become stagnant in their organizations.
There is no question called a dumb question. All questions are amazing questions. If you think your image is worth more than your question, you are holding it at the cost of learning.
How we do it at OrangeScape
Good to Great (G2G) is a weekly session at OrangeScape where all employees gather and learn together. We don’t gather to learn about professional skills, but rather learn something completely new that’s outside the scope of our jobs.
What we learn
Each session is always something new. One such G2G session was when all OrangeScape employees got together for 12 weeks of crafts. From cartooning to making paper crafts, we spent one hour each week making something entirely different.
G2G has remained a practice since 2015. It reminds all employees of the value of learning, and most importantly, learning as a group. Realizing the value of teamwork and individual contributions is key to creating anything.
Will you stand the test of time?
In this knowledge economy, the only organizations that survive are the ones that unlearn obsolete stuff and learn new ones. Technology is advancing exponentially, that we need to adapt faster to the changes.
When you stop learning, you stop being human. It is a constant in our lives that give us direction and purpose. The human brain is simply too active and powerful to turn it off.
When doing something you love with all your heart, you are naturally aspiring to be better.
Whether you’re aware of it or not, you’re striving to be better each day. But it is in your hands to streamline it do it bears fruit quicker.