Failing to Continually Learn, is Learning to Continually Fail
By trade, I have been a Project Manager for software projects for most of my career. As a Project Manager, we emphasize the theme “Failing to Plan, is a Plan to Fail.”
You Heard It Here First
Since I have renewed my commitment to listening to audiobooks again, I have modified this saying … “Failing to Continually Learn is Leaning to Continually Fail.” I did a Google search, and I couldn’t find this phrase anywhere, so I am officially taking credit for staring this theme.
So what does this theme mean? The times in my life when I have been the happiest, engaged and felt like I was moving forward positively, were times when I was learning. In high school, I already was enjoyed learning new topics, taking tests and doing well with my grades. I was a pretty good student in High School and graduated pretty high in my graduating class, but more importantly were the feelings of self-confidence and esteem that I had for my self and my potential to do anything.
As I continued into college, I realized that my love for learning continued into my chosen profession as a software developer. Once I graduate college, I stopped learning. I started to work, and all of the learning I was doing was on the job. Learning about my job responsibilities and getting my job done took priority.
After a few years of fast growth and accelerated career path transitions, I realized that I had reached a stale in my life. I wasn’t learning anymore, just living what I already knew. I decided to make a change and started learning new technologies taking certification tests and working my way up the Microsoft certification ladder until I became a Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT).
Once again, I had reached a pinnacle and stopped learning. After a few years I noticed that once again, I had become stale. I wasn’t advancing my career; I wasn’t happy with where I was or what I was doing in life. So, as I had done before, I started to learn. This time it was to become a Project Manager. I devoured everything I could gain and eventually earned a Project Management Certification from George Washington University followed by passing the Project Management Professional (PMP) exam.
Life was good for many years, with some ups and downs, but in general more ups than downs. When I found out that I had diabetes, I knew that I needed to learn about my condition. As I learned more and more, I realized that learning is not just about diabetes. Education is necessary to be a lifelong pursuit. Why? We were built to learn. Our minds and bodies crave, need, desire more information.
Think about the last time you learned something new, how did you feel? Did you want to tell everyone about it? That the neurochemical dopamine got released giving you a sense of accomplishment, you learned something new. We need dopamine, we want dopamine, our bodies thrive when we can increase the dopamine levels.
Failing to provide the dopamine levels our bodies want, leads to depression, stress, and generally reduced moods. This fact is why every time I stopped learning, I felt that I feel into a stale in life. I wasn’t getting the dopamine my body was used to when I was learning something new.
Now, I listen to audiobooks every day, with no plan to stop. I get my daily fix of dopamine which I see carry over into my work life, my family life, and community life. I am generally in a better mood, and more efficient was whatever I need to get accomplished for the day.
Thus, failing to learn continually… is learning to fail frequently. You fail at giving yourself the best life possible by infusing your life with adequate amounts of dopamine. Don’t deny yourself of this vital neuro-chemical.
What has been your experience with learning? Do you agree, failing to learn continually is learning to fail frequently?