“No man knows enough about any worthwhile subject to entitle him to feel that he has the last word on a subject.” – Napoleon Hill
Who is the subject matter expert in your given area of expertise? I bet you can list at least five people who you consider to be the experts in your career or area of expertise. Hill reminds us that no matter who we are or what we know, we must have the heart of a life-long learner.
What does a life-long learner look like? What are the characteristics of a life-long learner? I thought of three qualities that I believe describe someone who is a life-long learner. A life-long learner is:
Someone who is humble knows they haven’t cornered the market on wisdom and knowledge. They understand that they can find it and always learn something from someone. They realize that the more they know, the more they don’t know and there is more room for them to grow. They also know who those in their fields are who are experts and are willing to sit at their feet in order to grow. Life-long Learners are not the smartest person in the room because they are always looking for them room where they can grow the most.
How humble are you?
Lifelong learners are hungry. If there is more to know and grow, then they are eager to feed their souls and nourish their growth. They don’t stop feeding until they are full (which may never happen). They want every detail, statistic, idea, link to and person associated with their area of interest or expertise. When these people are hungry, they don’t eat one potato chip of knowledge, they devour the whole bag…then want some more! They thirst for wisdom that enables their growth. They search high and low for those who will provide the next meal in their quest for growth. Lifelong learners are like sharks in the ocean when they sense blood in the water. They follow the blood trail consisting of information, knowledge, wisdom and experience and devour them.
How hungry are you?
Lifelong learners are curious! They always ask questions. They are like children who ask a question and after every response counter with an insane number of Whys. These insane number of questions they ask are not meant to test your patience or to find something you don’t know that they know. It is because they want to know as much as they can about a subject to solve a mystery in their own lives of growth. They are looking for more than general knowledge. They are looking for the art within their specialty. Curiosity leads to new discoveries and links vital subjects together for a learner. The life-long learner can’t wait to meet new people who they see as sources so they can ask questions to help grow their understanding of a subject. They are solving the puzzles of fulfilling their potential and they know that great questions lead to great answers and greater awareness when applied.
How curious are you?
Would those who know you best describe you as a lifelong learner?
Which of these qualities do you need to grow the most?
What is one thing you will do this week to grow in humility, get hungry and be more curious?