Continue your education: Never stop learning!
Continuing education is the secret sauce of long-term success for every endeavor worth undertaking. One of the most useful pieces of information you might have received as a kid was repeated every Saturday morning during cartoon watching time: Knowledge is power. That message certainly stuck with me, and formed the basis of everything I have done in my life since then. While your formal education may come to an end at 18, 22, or 26 years old, you never graduate from learning.
Before you initiated your startup, you presumably had enough information about your field to have something like expertise to offer. You may have even had in informational advantage over your competitors. But that kind of advantage does not last for very long. Anything you can learn, someone else can also learn.
Thanks to the Internet, information has been completely democratized. No one can maintain an informational advantage for very long. Once upon a time, continuing education was a luxury that helped you stay ahead. Now, it is a necessity that helps you keep up. Here are some ways to continue your education:
Keep Reading Textbooks
While at university, we spend hundreds of dollars per semester on textbooks. After grousing about the price for a while, we get over it, and on with the business of studying. We do this because we understand that the textbook is the gateway to knowledge, and a diploma. In other words, despite the initial cost, a good textbook is worth it.
Many graduates keep their textbooks beyond graduation. In fields such as law and medicine, those books represent a treasure trove of valuable reference material. The successful practitioners of those crafts will always have a reason to refer to the information in those books.
In some ways, business administration moves at an even faster pace. Your textbooks on business will most likely end up out of date much faster. That does not mean there is no value in keeping those books. Rather, it just indicates that you need to stay up to date by keeping up with the latest textbooks on the subject.
There is an advantage to keeping up with what is being taught in class about your field of expertise. Right now, there are kids who are hungrier and more eager than you are. They are in school, waiting for their chance to replace you. You need to know what they know. You don’t have to be in school to find the latest textbooks on a given subject. Before buying the new ones, you might want to sell your old ones. You can learn how, with the ultimate guide to sell textbooks.
iTunes and Lynda
Thanks to the Internet, you no longer have to go back to school in order to go back to school. For a traditional education experience, you can take advantage of iTunes U for free. Apple provides this portal for online learning through apps available on all Macs and iDevices for free. You can select course lectures on almost any subject, from programs all over the world. There has never been an easier way to audit classes on demand. With iTunes U, you get everything but the degree.
Lynda.com offers a different kind of online learning experience. It is a paid program that focuses on video tutorials on a variety of tech topics. Beyond learning how to use the new version of Photoshop, there are also courses on business and trades. You can check out the catalog before signing up for a subscription. Between these two programs, there is almost nothing you can’t learn.
Middle management is just a half-step above nameless grunt. There is a big step from there to the executive suite. Fortunately, there are companies that can help you get there via executive training programs. Such programs tend to help you focus on practical things such as managing people, making impactful presentations, and budgetary accountability. You will have to learn the executive double-speak on your own.
Knowledge is power. If you want to remain powerful, never stop learning!