Here is my plan to be Wise

The first of my plans dealt with being healthy and wealthy. The third plan that I have found essential is for mental and cognitive development. This is a plan for being wise. Yes, I mean a plan to expand your brainpower or at least your knowledge base. It has been said that the only real job security we have is between our ears. In this day of rapid obsolescence, the knowledge and skills that one has can become outdated very quickly.

We need to think of learning as a lifelong endeavor and not just as a series of degrees or diplomas. To do that, each of us needs some type of learning or self-development plan. This is too important to trust to employers or others with the hope that they will provide us with the training and education we need to stay current. We need to develop our own lifelong training program. This plan will be different for each of us. It will depend on your knowledge, skills and abilities and your personal interests and aspirations. The goal of this plan is to stay viable and valuable to yourself and to others.

I try to develop a plan each year to insure that I am keeping up with technology and the key insights in my chosen career field. I am now able to use the Internet to help me do this. The use of RSS feeds (Really Simple Syndication), Google alerts, Blog notices, Facebook and LinkedIn, webinars, Ezines and other automatic downloads helps me to keep abreast of what is happening in the workplace. I also try to subscribe to current magazines that will help me to keep abreast of events in my field.

If you cannot afford new magazines and books, you can make a weekly trip to the library and simply scan the newest magazines for insights. Belonging to professional associations can be somewhat expensive but may be well worthwhile if you can use the time effectively for growth and development. Professional associations give you the opportunity to meet and network with leaders and experts in your field. These contacts can be invaluable. The website LinkedIn allows you to participate in a wide range of professional associations on-line. The networking and knowledge that you can learn from these “virtual” organizations on LinkedIn can be almost as valuable as attending a “real” organization and at little or no cost.

Finally, do you look for opportunities to attend workshops and conferences that will give you new learning and insights? There are many free podcasts, webinars, video-conferences, teleconferences, papers and articles on the web that are wonderful resources and they do not cost a cent.

If you do not have a plan or as you start to develop your plan, here are some key questions to think about:

• How will you ensure that you remain knowledgeable and informed?
• What could you do now to be better informed about your world and what’s happening
in it?
• Can you read a book, take a class or attend a lecture each month?
• Are you taking advantage of the free opportunities for education and training on
the Internet?
• Make a schedule of activities that will keep your mind healthy and flexible and
see if you can stick to it for the next year.

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. John
    Jan 23, 2012 @ 23:28:04

    I think this is all good advice, and I'd add that if you're averse to making a schedule, then make it a compulsion instead! For technical knowledge, newer definitely tends to be better. But for everything else I've also found a lot of surprising insights in older books I've picked up from used book stores and thrift shops.



  2. John Persico
    Jan 23, 2012 @ 23:57:03

    Wow, thanks for sharing. I also go regularly to Savers, Salvation Army and Goodwill stores and find some great books at bargain prices. Some ideas will be current even 20 years from now or perhaps that much ahead of the curve. I am very glad you mentioned this idea.



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