By Leo Babauta
You may think you’re pretty good at what you do. And you may be right. But you’re not the best you can be. None of us are, and we might never be. The most important skill this century is adaptability and the capacity to constantly learn new skills and improve.
It will take you to the top of your game and keep you there. It will get you better assignments and clients, better rates, a better reputation.
So how do you keep refining your skill set and grow your capabilities in our fast moving culture?
Here are seven ideas to help get you started:
1. Set Aside Time for Learning
Whether it’s 30 minutes a day, an hour a week, or even a few minutes, to grow you have to set aside a regular block of time for learning.
That time can be spent reading blogs, books or trade publications. It could be scrutinizing the work of others in your field. It might be taking a class, or just working on your skills on your own. Even the act of reflection is important to help focus and isolate areas of opportunity and development.
Whatever you do, be sure to schedule it, and don’t miss that appointment.
2. Fine Tune
Start by paying attention, see how you can improve. Look closely at each skill you have, each thing you do, and see what can be made better. Things can almost always be made better. Work on each skill, practicing it until you’re perfect, trying new things, getting creative.
3. Get Inspired
It can be hard to motivate yourself to improve, especially when what you’re already doing works for you. But if you look at the work of others, especially others at the top of your field, or past masters, it can be enough to inspire you.
Find ways to get inspired by the amazing works of others every day, and you’ll never stop improving.
4. Learn From the Masters
Study closely the work of the masters, read about them, read things they’ve written about your craft. If possible, learn from them directly, by studying under them or working with them.
They got where they are today by studying from the masters that came before them.
5. Invite Criticism
Sometimes we can’t see what we’re doing wrong because we’re too close to the work. We need an outside pair of eyes to offer some objective advice. Ask someone you respect for a critique of your work. Ask them to be honest and specific about what you can improve, then set to work focusing on those growth areas.
And remember not be offended by their suggestions. You want honesty and it’s a luxury to get it from an expert or peer that you trust.
6. Take a Class
If there’s a class available for your skills and it’s taught by someone better than you, it’s worth taking.
Learning has never been more democratized. Whether it’s in person classes and workshops, or online training, the information and expertise we have access to in order to extend ourselves is unprecedented.
Committing to training or a class forces you to take that time for learning, and invest in getting the most from it. You’ll probably also meet others in your field, and can build relationships to fuel your practice.
Get started by choosing one of over 20,000 tutorials available on Envato’s Tuts+
7. Surround Yourself with Smart People
Surround yourself with people smarter than you. Collaborate, get on their team, work at their company, or do a joint project.
Doing is usually the best way to learn and working with those who know what they’re doing is the best lesson there is. Pay close attention to everything that they do and ask questions.
Keep Getting Better
Improvement fulfils us. It keeps us alive, challenged and engaged in our work and the world around us.
Once our challenges are depleted, things become static and boring and tedious. But if you continually look to improve what you do, there’s never a dull moment.
Image Source: Education Icons in Flat Style by neyro2008.
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