Thursday, March 16, 2006

Never Standing Still

In a leadership course I took in 05 one of the comments that always stuck in my head was: With your personal development you are either moving forward or moving back - there is no standing still. I try to keep this in mind at all times whether it be work or home life. At work it helps me decide which job to take, projects to work on, self study areas etc.

With the current pace of business and technology though, it seems like the more accurate statement would be running forward and barely catching up, or falling back too fast to change momentum. It never seems like you have enough time to digest all the information out there just in your interest areas alone. Not just magazines and books but websites, RSS feeds, your favorite blogs, podcasts etc. My email box alone fills with business articles of the month, and no matter how much I read, scan, flag and prioritize, I never seem to be able to get caught up. For example, In an effort to organize, I delete articles that haven't been opened after about 3 months - my reasoning - its likely old news. Talk about the age of information overload. Even this blog is not mere bandwagon attempt - its a way for me to capture fleeting ideas as I filter information - even if just for my own recollection. Luckily, there are a few tools that are part of the Web 2.0 generation that are starting to pop up that give us some ability to organize this information. Check out Del.icio.us. Even this concept will likely evolve into something more - some type of personal (yet sharable) information warehouse, that helps you organize, connect, relate, filter do advanced query/analytics on, and have the application help find/refine new incoming information.

I don't see this overload as bad - I look at the positives - I have fostered a culture within myself of continual learning, and by coming to grips that the pace of things will never let up and likely get worse, I am working on sustainable continual learning without getting burnt out, which is much harder to achieve.

Continual learning even has a good physical affect on your brain. I read a recently in the Wall Street Journal about a medical study that showed brains stay more nimble as they age if they are kept in shape by continuous learning. The study proposed that age is less of a factor with declining mental capacity - it is more likely due to the routine and relaxation of retirement.

Another thing to watch out for is getting lulled into standing still without knowing it. Recently I have been doing some consulting work, and I am convince that this even keeps you sharper on what's current. You are always looking for trends, what's coming next - what skills you need to build, what type of project/work experience you should be driving towards for career progression, because you know there is finality to your assignments. However I would go as far to say that even having a job within a company - you need to stay sharp, because in this age of change, no position is forever so be ready with knowledge, and look forward to the challenge.

1 comment:

Jeffrey Reiss said...

Hello Kevin from sunny Arizona.
I was reading your Linked in profile and saw you had a blog. Just wanted to mention a magazine I love that you might also.
Fast Company. It is not technical (as we are probably both used to reading) it is more whole life. Great read. You should give it a try. PS I must get 25 trade rags a month, but this one goes to the top of the pile when it comes in!

My email is Jreiss@TrippLite.com if you want to respond.