Futurist and author Alvin Toffler says, “The new illiterate will not be the person who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.”

I suspect that in an era of such constant and prolific change, he’s right.

I’ve come across a lot of people over the years who can read and write perfectly well and have other skills that 20 years ago were in demand, but because of their inability to adapt to new technologies or maintain an open mind about change and a negative and dour attitude about the future have virtually rendered themselves unemployable and irrelevant.

Here are a couple of points that I think could be helpful in ensuring that we don’t fall into that trap ourselves:

Understand the need for learning – If you don’t see the need to learn, then you won’t take the time to make sure that you are filling your mind with new ideas, concepts and ways of doing business.  You may be avoid the impact of not learning today and perhaps tomorrow, but the consequences of not updating your skills and knowledge will eventually catch up to you, with painful consequences.  This story explains this point best.

Be disciplined in your learning – Good intentions are fine, but meaningful action is better.  Whether you enrol in a course or discipline yourself to read the latest books from your industry and beyond, you need to put aside the time and expend energy to continue to learn.

Know how you learn – People learn in different ways.  They include:

  • Listening to information being explained
  • Hands-on experience
  • Repeating actions and getting feedback
  • Observing others in action
  • Teaching and training others what you’ve learned
  • Taking notes and reviewing the information regularly

We’re all different and it’s important to understand our own unique learning styles if we are to continue to learn and remain literate in this Knowledge Age that we are living in.

Are you ready to take on the world and all of its inherent challenges, armed with knowledge and information that you have gleaned from years of disciplined learning?

Or are you a member of the new illiterate?

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