Blogs - Perpetual Learning

Original version published on Facebook June 24, 2011

** originally from a FaceBook note posting - this has been
changed slightly, but the idea is originally intact.

Learning should be a perpetual thing. Whether deliberately or accidentally; we all pick up new facts, perspectives, ideas and skills from time to time. Sometimes it is an article read in the newspaper or story seen on TV - sometimes a post on Facebook or a comment made in a meeting. Maybe it is a new understanding gained as we help our kids with their homework.

This opinion goes well beyond the business or academic worlds. This is a lifestyle that yields dividends in home and social life as well. Of course, the easiest place to measure those benefits may be in the business world.

In my professional walk, I am an IT manager and software developer. I learn a few new things a day sometimes. The tempation would be to catalog those as new things learned - but there are just as many non-job related learned things. Each are equally valuable, but for now, I would rather focus on the "extra" things.

I would like to issue a challenge - write down 5 things you have learned in a given 7 day period. The things can be seemingly trivial tidbits, like the name of Snow White's love child with Dopey, profound like a new respect for friendship, or something just odd like a new word in your native language or a foreign language.

BUT - when you give this new thing you learned, record the story behind it. How did you learn it, or what led to it? Sometimes the interesting thing behind a new thought, can be how you arrived at it. Keep a journal or record of them - and refer back to it. Post them on a Facebook note, and share then with whomever you thing would enjoy it - and hope they do the same.

Below is my first log list for my learning journal. Of course, items are hardly earthshattering for any third party. But, they do vary in type and are interesting to reflect on for myself. Hopefully your list will be just as insightful for you in the weeks or months later.

  1. Learned thing: Ibo (Igbo) is a language spoken in Africa - around Nigeria and an example is Ka chi bọ which means "Good night"
    The story: An old high school acquaintance posted as her languages as English, French and Ibo. I had never heard of such a language so I jumped on Wiki and found several articles. I asked her about it and she confessed she was horsing around. So I guess I learned 2 new things - About Ibo - and that Amy has a fun sense of humor.
  2. Learned thing: Alpaca's teeth need to be trimmed every 6-12 months
    The story: This one was stolen from my sister by marriage. I did a status posting, similar but shorter, to this note. She is what she shared as something new she learned. Since she shared it, it is now something new I have learned. :)
  3. Learned thing: A much better understanding of several principles of software architecture.
    The story: I am reading a book on the subject - and while I have been doing it for decades now, sitting down and reading on the subject, I've had several epiphanies along the way.
  4. Learned thing: The DMV in Alabama stops taking names over an hour before the testing stops, which is an hour before they close. This keeps them from still having people in the center after they are supposed to close.
    The story: I foolishly thought since they were open till 5 that 2 hours before closing would be plenty of time.
  5. Learned thing: That the soft skills (public speaking, meeting communications etc) I have been learning for the past 10 years have really steered my career in some very interesting directions I didn't see at the time.
    The story: I was in a meeting talking to some people about a possible business "thing". As we were talking I shared some of my job experiences. For the first time, I saw the stepping stones of projects and jobs and could map the soft skills picked up as clearly as the new technology skills I learned.

In Facebook posts, many people log favorite movies, books read, or things they remember from childhood. Wouldn't it be nice to get one going that's about a lifestyle of learning? I dare you.

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