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Take Control of Your Learning at Work

hbr.org

Motivation to learn

We have an impressive ability to learn, but our motivation to do so tends to decrease with age:

  • As children, we are naturally curious and free to explore the world around us.
  • As adults, we are much more interested in preserving what we have learned

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In this digital age, knowledge and expertise have been devalued.

What you know is now less relevant than what you can learn, and employers are less interested in hiring people with particular expertise than with the general ability to develop the right expertise in the future.

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When we can all retrieve the same information, the key differentiator is not access to data, but the ability to make use of it, the capacity to translate the available information into useful knowledge.

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Be sure to have 'learning potential' as a key element when choosing a job.

Your learning potential is partly dependent on your own personality, but your propensity to learn will be strongly influenced by the type of job, career, and organization you pick.

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... organizations must value psychological safety, diversity, openness to ideas, and reflection time, all of which can hinder short-term results.

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It's essential that you own your own learning process, managing your professional growth and development.

If you are waiting to be told what to learn, you are not being proactive about your learning.

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We can only develop new strengths by addressing our weaknesses, so if you want to acquire skills you don’t have, or develop new expertise, you will inevitably have to focus on what you don’t know rather than what you do know. 

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From peers, colleagues, bosses, and especially mentors. Some of the biggest learning opportunities are organic or spontaneous.

However, this requires seeking the right feedback and being receptive to others’ suggestions, including criticism. 

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