Good Habits #9: Continuous Learning

By | March 23, 2015

[March 23, 2014] My grandmother – affectionately called big mama – told me many times that, “if you ain’t learning, you ain’t livin.” She valued all types of education and was the first relative to insist I go to college. Continuous learning, she implicitly knew, is one of the many good habits a person needs to be the best they can be. The best leaders also know that by learning they advance themselves, especially about things that most interest them.

The world is undergoing constant change; the workplace, our homes, travel … all are in a continuous state of transformation. We can either learn to adapt to it or fall behind. Who hasn’t known the intellectually lazy person who is unwilling to make themselves better? Who hasn’t known the opposite type person, someone who drove themselves to be better? The difference in each of these persons is that one is motivated to continuous learning, the other to stagnation. The former is “living”; the other is … not living up to who they could be and certainly not succeeding.

For the most part the world does not encourage us to learn more. Often we are told to “slow down” and not show too much ambition or motivation, else we will be shunned or given extra work. Standing out in the crowd will get us recognized as a “do gooder” or “teacher’s pet”. Overcoming these obstacles is never easy, but if we have the inner drive to push ourselves we can succeed. Procrastination is both dangerous and enticing. It also results in a creeping intellectual rot.

As I travel through the many airports of the world, I observe what people do to pass the time. The most obvious pattern is that many people are working on something – reading a book, writing, etc. Many others are just playing games or sleeping. I talk with people in the airport – anyone who will say hello. Those working on something are usually engaging, smart, and likeable. Those playing games typically are not interested in talking much about anything. Is there a difference here? I think yes.

Everyone needs to keep continuous learning in their mental rucksack. This topic is not new, original, or rare. So it is not surprising that many see the benefits to keeping up on the newest developments in our areas of interests. Continuous learning makes for a more engaged leader; one who is more intellectually creative and savvy about the world around them. This is the type of person we want to follow.

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Good Habits #1: Never Assume Anything:

Good Habits #2: Walk Around and Talk with People:

Good Habits #3: Read Mission-Related Material:

Good Habits #4: Take the Initiative:

Good Habits #5: Effective Use of Time: Good Habits #6: Show the Human Side:

Good Habits #7: Speak Properly:

Good Habits #8: Transparency:


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Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article everyday on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.