How to find the energy to continue to learn - so to not become IRRELEVANT

Good Morning Innovation Pioneers, Yesterday I spent the day with some of the early Innovation Engineering Black Belts.  They are doing great work.   Really great and worthy work.

They learned Innovation Engineering brilliantly.  However, today's Innovation Engineering is better, smarter, more effective then it was when they learned it.

In our conversations - they brought up challenges that we have solved in the past year.   10  times during a series of meetings  I brought up material from the new Innovation Engineering classes. The content was the curriculum from the  3.0 version of Innovation Engineering curriculum we started teaching on campus and off starting in August.   They had no idea that their challenges were not unique.  Others had experienced similar challenges.  And the Innovation Engineering Institute Team (Eureka! Ranch & University of Maine) had responded to the challenges with new learning and methods.

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I don't fault them - they are busy, very busy.   And, they were never taught the importance of never ending learning.  Our entire school system is focused on graduation - completion - getting done.

We start as raw and confused students - we work hard and become educated.  This gives us a wonderful feeling of accomplishment.  Against the classic education narrative why would anyone voluntarily go back into a world of confusion to learn again?

This approach to studying once, and living on that knowledge for ever, worked when the world moved at a glacial pace.  Today it doesn't.  If we don't continue to learn we quickly become irrelevant.  The pace of change, of new knowledge is accelerating.   EVERYONE needs to embrace never ending learning.  However, everyone is very tired, over worked and exhausted.   They just don't have the energy to go back to the beginners mind.

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The way we find the energy to continue to learn and calm our "know it all ego" is through AWAKENING the spirit of learning.    As David Whyte  says, "The secret to exhaustion is not rest.  The secret to exhaustion is wholeheartedness."

The desire to learn must come from within you.  You have to LOVE learning for learning's sake.   You must listen to the spirit within you - the spirit of natural curiosity and wonder.

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If you are learning to get the degree, the title, the job then you will never have the time or energy to keep learning.  And before you know it today's marketplace will pass you by.   The result will be you will  be that  out of touch and cranky old person you used to make fun of when you were younger.

OK, I know that last line was a cheap shot... however it's top of mind to me because I recently watched the Commencement Address I gave in 2008 at the University of Maine graduation ceremonies.  (Click here and scroll to bottom of page to view)   At the end of it I give a charge to Baby Boomers telling them "Fellow Baby Boomers – it’s not too late – it’s not to late - myself included – to start living the hopes and dreams from our youth. It’s time to get healthy, take responsibility and do something..."

So what are you waiting for?  Get Up, Get Out, Get Going!

NOW is the time to make the resolution to LEARN MORE ... today, this month and during all of 2015.

Happy Holidays to All

Doug Hall

P.S.   The Innovation Engineering Network, thanks to the generous support of the Innovation Engineering Institute,  has recently announced the 2015 scholarship program that make it EASY & AFFORDABLE for Small Business Entities (under 500 employees in all co-owned companies) and Micro Business Entities  (under 50 employees)  to get the same Innovation Engineering Black Belt training and tools that Fortune 10 Companies enjoy.   To learn more contact the Eureka! Ranch at 513.271.9911.