Learning Power vs. Earning Power

The title insinuates a competition between two super powers, but this is not the case. The economic downturn has driven many people to focus on their future. Learning therefore becomes a key part of their survival strategy, which is to get or keep a job, gain a promotion or increase their earning power. Employees and displaced workers are using education to retool as they acquire new skills. This fact is supported by colleges reporting an increase in adult enrollment and students staying longer to get advanced degrees.

The Total Quality Movement taught us to concentrate on continuous improvement which also applies to us individually. But there is a need to be strategic, intentional and focused in our learning. We need to channel our time, efforts and resources to learn the financial skills needed to develop our earning power.

In my new book the Isle of Knowledge (check web-site for available outlets, http://www.watchwellinc.com), the main character is at a retreat to improve his decision-making skills. He was reminded, in one of the sessions, that learning exists for many reasons. The class was told to fill in the blank. Learning is ____ternal. They supplied seven prefixes; e, in, ex, ma, pa, fra and noc.

  • Eternal
  • Internal
  • External
  • Maternal
  • Paternal
  • Fraternal
  • Nocturnal

 “Learning is eternal. It is continuous. Education should not be limited to formal schooling. One should have the thirst to want to know more. Learning should be a lifelong endeavor, a mindset of continuous improvement. The person who wears the mantel of an eternal student will grow and face life’s challenges with a reservoir of knowledge. They will never be bored.”

“Learning should be internal. A spark within you motivates you to action. You should constantly work to fill yourself with information. You don’t have to be told to be open to your surroundings. When learning is internal, reading is recreation, not an occupation. It is second nature, as automatic as breathing. When internally driven, you find opportunities to read as a means of efficiently using your time. You read in checkout lines in supermarkets. You read on the train and before going to bed at night. You are a self-starter, with initiative.”

“Learning can be external. There are stimuli in the environment that compels you to know more as a means of survival. Your customers, competitors, employees, families, the training department, the industry and school mandate a level of learning to stay in step with the norm. Demands are placed on us daily and in order to thrive in our chosen field. The marketplace demands you to achieve a certain level of expertise to be effective.”

“Learning can be maternal. It has a nurturing component that encourages and supports. It is individually focused and singles out those who need attention and tutoring. Patience and understanding is exercised through verbal and nonverbal means.” Learning feels that everyone has a right to fully receive information, to enable them to grow to their capacity.”

“Learning is paternal. It is directive in demeanor. You are told or it is clearly implied that, “You will learn this material.” Others learned it, everyone is counting on you to learn it and I will support your efforts to learn the information. The paternal aspects of learning are very clear and may be the one with consequences if the knowledge is not absorbed, especially if you deliver anything but your best. You have an obligation, a responsibility to learn or else suffer the consequences.”

“Learning is fraternal. People help others keep up and display this attribute in team. Study groups and other support groups operate on this principle, as members vow that no one will be left behind. This attribute is similar to maternal in that it is supportive. It’s collegial nature shows everyone is involved to help everyone make the grade. It is not just focused on the ones who are struggling. Fraternally, the group is committed to succeed for the good of the group as well as each individual. There is pride in coming out on top. The identity of the team is paramount.”

“Learning is nocturnal, because some like to do it at night. It is well documented that there are times of day when many of us learn better. Some will say they are a morning person and therefore, should schedule their learning around the morning hours. There are those who are night people and will stay up long past the bedtime of others to get their work done. Everyone needs to know the time when they are most productive. Scheduling learning to occur at those times will result in optimum performance.”

 Strategic learning involves developing the disciple to conduct:

  • A self assessment to determine your strengths, talents and weaknesses
  • An analysis of the society and the marketplace to determine what skills and jobs are needed or in over-supply
  • Creating a plan to capitalize on the needs, trends and talents needed to make a contribution to self, relationships family and the world at large
  • Executing the plan to go from wishing thinking to generating wealth

Strategic learning is acquiring knowledge and skills related to a specific goal, dream or objective. To gain wealth, a job or a promotion will demand an increase in technical knowledge, techniques and relationships in this increasingly competitive marketplace.  You have to decide what is important to you and aggressively plan and go after it. There is a discipline required. And discipline is simply a routine, a repetition of the right learning and behaviors to achieve a result. Much of what we learn has no direct impact on our capacity to make money, however, through strategic learning, focused on a goal, we will have a greater impact on the earning power to achieve the returns, we so richly deserve.

Copyright © 2010 Orlando Ceaser

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