Lifelong Learning

 

“Change is the end result of all true learning.”

~Leo Buscaglia

I can guarantee you find your passion. I can guarantee you do work you love.

Don’t believe me? Then you probably aren’t ready to work your ass off.

If you are, then read on.

When I tell people I write and coach on how to find work you love, so many of them scream back “I need your help!”

I calmly respond with a question: “well have you read any of the 100+ books out there on purpose and passion?”

I proceed to hear pins drop.

It’s not that complicated…

In the past 8 years I’ve tested just about everything under sun when it comes to finding my passion and doing work I actually give a sh*t about. I now spend close to 100% of my working hours doing things I love. I am grateful, but I don’t think it’s a coincidence.

Getting here wasn’t easy and it wasn’t fast. There’ve been plenty of late nights (and there still are), but it’s been a ton of fun.

And one thing’s for sure. The fact that I’m doing what lights me on fire right now, does not by any means mean it will be the same thing ten years from now. That’s the best part! I almost guarantee it won’t. At least not exactly the same.

As long as you are currently spending your time doing what you believe you are best at and you are meant to do, that’s a life well lived.

That’s fulfillment.

Every better yet, that’s excitement!

Literally I think I’ve tried everything. Some include:

  • Starting businesses
  • Traveling the world
  • Getting to know people in all walks of life
  • Hiring a coach
  • Being a coach
  • Taking negotiation seminars
  • Attending Tony Robbins events
  • Reading books- a lot of books. Mainly personal development.
  • Doing workbooks
  • Taking personality tests
  • Taking personal strengths test
  • Attempting at first seemingly impossible fitness challenges
  • Meeting entrepreneurs
  • Working for companies with 10,000+ employees
  • Working for companies with 12 employees
  • Working for companies with 1 employee
  • Writing blog articles, stories, ideas, journals
  • Taking univeristy courses

I could go on. Hopefully you get the point. More on my experiments here (bottom half of page).

In all this there is a common thread. There is one thing that will ensure you the very best chance at finding what you love to do and actually living it.

You ready for it?

…Learn.

That’s it.

Become obsessed with learning. Learn to love it. Do it every day in some way. One day it might be reading or watching a TED talk, listening to a podcast, having lunch with a new person, interviewing a business owner or sitting down and being completely still for 30 minutes.

Learn about yourself in every way possible. Test what you’re capable of physically (you think you can’t do a marathon–then sign up for one). Do the impossible. Test how you process information. Do a strengths finder test. Do the the What Color Is Your Parachute Workbook. Myers Briggs. Johnson O’Connor Aptitude. Do it all!

Then actually make something with what you learn.

The process is ridiculously simple:

Step 1: Learn

Step 2: Experiment

Step 3: Repeat

Step 4: Do what you love

Step 5: When restless, Repeat

The more you know about yourself, the more you will know what lights you on fire.

Most people don’t get to know themselves because it takes a lot of work and it can be scary. It can be terrifying to think you actually are in control of being able to discover and spend time on what you love.

But you do have the control. We all do. No one can stop us from understanding who we are, what we are amazing at and what keeps us from sleeping at night. And once we are congruent with this, there is very little chance of stopping someone from getting out and finding a way to apply it to the world.

But if you have no idea what you want or what you’re good at, then why would you ever want to work hard for it? You wouldn’t.

It all starts with learning!

I watch a TED talk most mornings on the bus to work. I read a few pages of an interesting book most nights. I share meals with big thinkers every week (and my therapeutic wife every night!). I write new ideas in my journal almost daily. It’s become a way of life.

Ideas exist in learning.

I get at least a dozen ideas every time I pick up a book (you should see the scribbles in my margins), watch a video or spend a few hours with someone who inspires me.

If you hate reading, then do something about it. Take a speed reading class (that’s what I did and I liked it so much that now I started teaching them on the occasional weekend). Subscribe to Philosopher’s Notes (CliffsNotes for personal development). Pick a few inspiring blogs and follow them.

The best part is you make up the curriculum!

Your path is waiting…

The education is out there and it’s everywhere. You just have to choose to do something with it.

There are no more excuses.

Make it a daily practice.

Take it all in.

Start building something that actually matters – to you and the world.

“Commit yourself to lifelong learning. The most valuable asset you’ll ever have is your mind and what you put into it.

~Brian Tracy

What do you do to constantly learn about yourself? What’s been your best education? Share your #1 resource in the comments. Let me know how I can help!

Anyone going to Omaha this weekend?

I’ll be out in Omaha for Warren Buffett’s Annual Meeting – one of our favorite weekends of the year! Leave a comment if you’re going. I’d love to connect. Expect a post on big lessons from the weekend coming soon!

Image courtesty of country_boy_shane

Leave a Reply

44 Responses to “Follow this Process & I Guarantee You’ll Do Work That Lights You on Fire”

  1. John Beadle says:

    Hi Scott,

    I have felt the same urge to bring passion and meaning to my life. Love the advice, I’ll have to look into the workbooks you suggested.

    I have found keeping a journal and writing down your thoughts extremely helpful as well. Toastmasters is another great self improvement program worth joining. Its amazing how many opportunities present themselves when you place yourself into a new/challenging situation.

    Once again, thanks for the great post. Let me know next time you hold another one of your speed reading classes (it would also make a great post).

  2. Hugh says:

    Thanks for sharing all of these great resources, some of which I know and some I have yet to learn about.

    I too am a huge fan of reading – books, awesome blogs, Harvard Business Review, magazines like Entrepreneur and Inc., and anything I can get my hands on. In this day and age, there’s really no limit to the education we can give ourselves, and most of it is free! The only “problem” I have is that there’s so much out there I want to read and learn about, but I have to be careful to also spend a lot of time DOING instead of just reading, learning, being inspired. That’s been a key for me – dedicate time to DOING something with everything that I have learned.

    • Scott says:

      HBR articles are huge. Thanks for adding that.

      You are right on with the problem. It’s all about DOING. No question about it! That’s where the “Experiment” part of the above process comes in. You have to get out there and do and test. Without that, you’re usually wasting your time.

      Thanks!

  3. Nick says:

    Obviously your univeristy courses didn’t work :)

    Good blog!

    Nick

    • Scott says:

      There were some benefits but it was mainly around learning how to interact with others and understand social situations. Met some great people too. Sadly the real learning usually has to be self administered. I hope that changes one day. I plan to be a part of the change.

  4. It really does all come down to passion. I’m not sure why people are afraid to pursue their passions. I guess it also matters if you are willing to believe in yourself.

    So the takeaway? Be passionate and believe in yourself.

    Trite, but true :)

    • Scott says:

      Believe in yourself and have a couple very close mates who wholeheartedly believe in you as well. Passion, or excitement is the easiest barometer. If that’s not there, then you should probably be moving on to the next ‘experiment’… No, you definitely should!

  5. You’re right about passion leading to learning and vice versa. I am all about learning a lot about many different topics. It creates a very interesting life! There is something to be said for focus though, which is what I lack. Too many good ideas and not enough time to implement.

  6. Lars says:

    Thank you SO much for linking to that speed reading site. I’m in Dallas, and was thrilled to see that they have a class here in a couple of weeks. I’m signing up right now.

    I’ve been looking for a real speed reading class for at least a couple of years now, so I’m very excited about it.

    • Scott says:

      Perfect timing! My speed went up by about 3x after I took my first Iris class. The stuff is simple and it works. The guys who run the company are really good people and passionate about what they’re doing. Have fun out there!

  7. Love this post–and live by the message. Here are the resources we use on Kidzmet for our monthly parent newsletter and teacher/student matching. While our site is to help kids discover who they’re meant to become, our resource list can be used by adults to re-discover their inner children. (AKA the ones with the energy and imagination and passion you may have lost along the way.)

    Hope it’s helpful!

    http://kidzmet.com/content_pages/view/references

    • Scott says:

      What you are doing with Kidzmet is literally the stuff that is going to change the world. Thank you! That is where it has to start- at an age before the world starts to tell you things are impossible or that you have to be this or that.

      Thanks for sharing and please keep kicking ass with this. The world needs it!

      • Awww, shucks. Thanks, Scott! Keep writing inspirational pieces like this one to continue to motivate the startup founders like me who use your blog as our own personal pep rally. :)

      • alieu nying says:

        hi my good friends of the world i am very happy about your s very nice help to me i am an african younth boun in the gambia west africa . an we are very poor so i will like to help poor people s in an out in the world so this is my wish to my people s so i thinks a lot s because i bound in a very poor family s an i am in that counditions still so i need this very good opportunity i can say this may help us so i will like to send my thank s to all the good people an i am exrpetting the good s to come to me at any time good to every one thank s very much

  8. I love the message. Thank you! -George-

  9. Will says:

    Scott,

    Thanks again for another awesome post. I look forward to each post and KNOW that what I want is possible – it will just take a lot of hard work and learning (and a little courage).

    One of my goals this year has been to read at least one book a week for 2011. So far I am on track. One of the books I read (and purchased) was The Strength Finder 2.0 book. I had read the original one but never took the test to determine my strengths (although just by reading the descriptions I knew a few that were at my core). I bought the second book and learned a lot about what role I like to have in whatever venture I undertake – gathering and dispensing good information. Then, I “experiment” with any new knowledge and then evaluate the results. This is what I do

    Keep up the writing because you do help!

    Will

    • Scott says:

      One book a week!!! That’s huge. Can’t imagine what you’re learning. You are going to get a TON out to Strengths Finder 2.0 once you take the assessment. It has made all the difference for me in the past few years. It guides a lot of my decisions. Can’t wait to hear what you think!

      • Stephanie Rogers says:

        Scott and Will, I’m a huge fan of StrengthsFinders – all the books and the assessment tool. I currently work in a corporate knowledge management job, but I’m beginning the process to become a professional coach with an emphasis on strengthsfinder and also on coaching people to get in touch with their inner creativity. I agree that hard work, learning and applying what we learn is so critical to making huge changes (for the better) in our lives. :)

        Thanks for another great post, Scott! I’m always inspired by what you have to say and reminded that hard work is a key piece of the process. Also courage to break free from our traditional roles.

  10. As a lifelong reader, I love this post. I’d also like to point out that reading fiction can be a learning experience–and it also can transport you to another world!

  11. ibs omer says:

    Great post Scott, I find your work inspiring like everybody else

  12. dana card says:

    this is such a lovely blog. thank you.

  13. Jon Wyderka says:

    It’s good to be reminded of the need for lifelong learning. At times I’ve gotten lazy and rested on my laurels. Your article provides a needed kick in the butt. – Jon Wyderka -

    • Scott says:

      Perfect. It’s ok to be lazy here and there, just be sure to keep have fun learning and there won’t be much to worry about…

  14. Cheryl says:

    The best education I ever got was taking entry-level plumbing — it was a complete u-turn for me (I had a BA in History and was working in a library at the time). I learned that I enjoyed working with my hands and that I was good at working to code and following detailed instructions. I also learned that I didn’t want to work in that trade so I returned to the library but it boosted my confidence tenfold.

    I wanted to thank you for a great summary — I am going to blog about this post and send people your way. (Hopefully it’s OK to quote part of your post.) Now to dig through the rest of your site!

    • Scott says:

      You are more than welcome to quote and link back Cheryl. Thanks! Very cool that you took such a different route to learn about something you might like. That’s what life’s all about. Constantly testing and learning!

  15. Prasannaa says:

    Hello Scott!

    This is a great post. Most of the time your posts are as if you are writing to me.

    Keep up the good work!

    Greetings from India!

    • Scott says:

      Haha. Then you are in the right place Prasannaa! So glad this stuff’s helpful for you. I’m hope you stick around for what’s to come!

  16. A great post with a lot of information to people. World Directory of Speed Reading Classes including live instructor lead classes, online classes and software.

  17. brand says:

    A Little off topic mayhap, but anyway – which template are you using? I actually love the header style.

  18. brand says:

    if you dont mind, where do you host your blog? I am looking for a good host and your blog seams to be fast and up all the time

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  21. subash kumar says:

    Hi Scott,

    The steps provided by you are simple and easy to follow, i think this is what the experts in any field to Learn; Experiment; Repeat. the info provided by is of great help.

    My problem is that i learn from my mistakes but I forget or lazy enough to apply it the 3rd or the 4th time. And again I am back to square one. so can you help me with this.

    regards,
    subash

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