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Leverage Lifetime Learning for Personal Effectiveness“We have an innate desire to endlessly learn, grow and develop.  We want to become more than what we already are. Once we yield to this inclination for continuous and never-ending improvement, we lead a life of endless accomplishments and satisfaction.” ~Chuck Gallozzi

In “The Success Principles, How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be”, Jack Canfield outlines 64 principles that will take a person to success in any endeavor.  He constructed the book from interviews with many successful people.

One principle in particular applies to your career (and life!) development: Commit to Constant and Never-Ending Improvement

Canfield found through his research that continual improvement is a mantra of whose professional presence and personal effectiveness levels are much more developed than everyone around them.  Even more importantly, it’s actually necessary just to keep up with the rapid pace of change in today’s world.  If you are not continually upgrading your skills and knowledge, someone else will pass you by.  An employee who is not advancing will become less valuable to his or her employer.  A business owner who is not keeping up with new technologies will be left in the dust by the competition.

So how do we go about embarking on the road to continual learning?  First we need to determine what areas we would like improve. Whether it’s personal, professional or something else, decide where you want to focus your energy.  Then, decide what steps need to be taken to make those improvements.  That might mean enrolling in classes, or setting aside time every day to learn on your own, read, or practice.  The key is breaking it down into doable steps.  Like anything else, if the task seems overwhelming, nothing at all will get done.

We’ve gotten used to instant gratification. But to really improve something in our lives takes time.  Whether it’s a matter of learning or practice, it doesn’t happen overnight.  It takes patience and persistence.  The slow and steady approach will mean longer-term success.

Canfield uses a baseball example to point out the difference between someone who does ok and someone who is really successful. A batting average of .250 is considered pretty good for a professional player who is also a good fielder. That means they get one hit for every four times they are at bat.  On the other hand, a batter who can hit a .300 average is considered to be a star player. That’s one hit for every three times at bat. The difference between the two is only one hit out of 20!  One seemingly small step between being good and being great.

What are your professional goals?  Where do you see yourself in five years?  Ten years?  Once you determine what you want your future to look like, think about what you will need to learn or practice to get there.  Then make it a daily habit to ask yourself, “How can I improve today?”

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