Lately, I’ve been thinking about what advice I would give to the millennials and the iGens. (Can’t wait to hear what we call the generation after that.)
Now I don’t have the gravitas of a CEO. But I figure that after a 42-year career I still like what I do and maybe that is the true measure of success, and the gravitas I need to give some advice. So, if forced to choose one piece of advice to give, here it goes:
LEARN TO LOVE TO LEARN.
I am talking about real, substantive learning that requires effort. The dividends are many. Keeping current in your field generates a feeling of competence and confidence that will enhance your value to your employer but, more importantly, to yourself. And herein lies true security. It’s that feeling of reliance on yourself for your success instead of dependence on others.
Continuing learning is critical and it is something that you have to design for yourself. Complacency is very risky given the fast-moving world we are in.
One of my favorite quotes:
If thou thinkest that thou knowest many things and understandest them very well; know also that there be far more things which thou knowest not. Be not high-minded, but rather acknowledge thine own ignorance. Why wilt thou prefer thyself before another, since there will be found many more learned, and more skilful in the Law than thou art? If thou wilt know or learn anything profitably, love to be unknown, and to be esteemed as naught.[i]
[i] Thomas À Kempis, The Imitation of Christ (New York: Barnes & Noble, Inc., Barnes & Noble Edition 2004; originally published in 1418) 5-6.