Job dissatisfaction is a growing pandemic in the workforce. According to the latest research, a whopping 85% of working professionals feel unhappy with what they do.
Of course, there are many possible reasons for this phenomenon. But today, I’m going to talk about one thing that could profoundly revolutionize your level of fulfillment not only in your current job but throughout your entire career and set you on a completely new trajectory.
Does that sound good? Let’s go.
Do you know what the number one motivator is when it comes to one’s career? The one thing that spurs people and propels when it comes to work. And it’s not money nor title. It’s not about managing people, having a great work-life balance or even going on vacations. The number one factor that drives people is: PROGRESS (softly)
Making progress is the single greatest source of motivation for the vast majority of professionals. The problem is that most people do not experience growth. Or more accurately, they do not progress at a rate they desire, or their growth is not steady enough to make any meaningful impact in their career.
I mean, just by doing the same thing repeatedly for an extended period, everyone will eventually become slightly better or faster at what they do. But this kind of growth, which is both slow and sporadic, is not exactly conducive to tangible advancement.
I have good news for you. There is a SIMPLE secret to experiencing the kind of progress that we all long for – which is both significant and continual. In fact, because of its simplicity, many reject the idea but that is a terrible mistake.
So do you want to know what it is? Yes? OK, I will tell you. The secret to meaningful progress is “Active Learning”.
Not just sitting around and getting better at something through forced repetition | but actively and intentionally going after knowledge and improvement.
And if you’re not doing this, if you feel like “ah, what’s the point? Learning isn’t going to change anything for me…”, I am telling you, this is the one thing that is keeping you from performing at your highest level and thriving at work.
According to recent research, over 88% of financially successful people spend over 30 minutes on reading and learning every day, on average. And if you look at some of the MOST successful people in the world including the likes of Elon Musk, Bill Gates, and Jack Ma, they practice what’s called a 5 hour rule which is spending AT LEAST 5 HOURS each week (or more) to deliberately learn something new. These incredibly accomplished people still invest that much of their life to learning. On the flip side, the vast majority of professionals who feel disengaged in their work do not invest in training or growth.
So this is what I am going to do for the rest of this post, I’m going to share with you 3 super practical ways to start learning right now. Because if we only become aware of the importance of learning but do not take action, it’s not going to help us much right?
So here we go!
The first and the easiest way to start is by reading good books. Books in your field or ones that teach relevant, applicable skills for your profession.
If you’re wondering how to choose your first volume, just go to Amazon and pick the topics you’re interested in (again, relevant to your field) and look for titles whose review scores are 4.5 or higher. OK?
And then, as you read the reviews, focus on the ones where people talk about how their lives were transformed, how the content was so captivating, or how they just couldn’t put it down, etc.
The reason for this is because, especially in the beginning, you are still building the habit of reading, so you want to start with content that is both fun and engaging.
In fact, if you’re reading something and it’s just too boring, no worries. Just find another title that intrigues you. Some books are more exciting than others so we can always choose the ones that work for you.
Another great learning material is motivational books. By definition, they are designed to inspire you - in your work, learning and life. If you’re struggling with a lack of drive or energy, these materials could be extremely helpful. I recommend starting with the more classic speakers and authors such as Zig Ziglar, Brian Tracy and Jim Rohn.
You just need to improve by 1%. (The 1% Rule)
In his highly influential book “The 1% rule”, the author (Tommy Baker) teaches the concept of improving just 1% at a time. His idea is that if we get better by just 1% every day, this will translate to at least 365% improvement in 1 year.
He explains that most people do not even bother to learn because they feel it will be too much effort and the result will not be worth it. But the reality is the opposite.
If we make an effort to simply enhance one area by 1% daily (which is not very overwhelming), in just 100 days, we would have grown by 100% (One Hundred Percent)! Who would love to grow by 100% in just over 3 months? I do! And if over one year, the improvement will be drastic!
You do not need to put excessive pressure on yourself. This is not a sprint. Progress is a journey. What’s much more crucial is consistency (and showing up every day) instead of how much you get done in one day. Focus on improving every day, every week even if it’s just 1%.
Prioritize – But I’m just too busy!
One of the most common objections to learning is “I’m too busy!” and “I don’t have time!”
Well, I totally agree with you. Because you are right! You do not have enough time. But you know what? Everyone has the same exact amount of time. So what’s the difference? Why can some people devote themselves to so much learning while others do not?
The difference is not in how much time we have (which is exactly the same for every one). The difference is in priority.
Before I first started my learning journey, I always felt like I had no time too! I was reading maybe one to 2 books a year? I had a full-time job, and was married with 2 small kids (one of them was a baby) and I was hardly sleeping.
But once I was convinced of the need for progress, I ended up reading about 24 books the first year. I went from 1 to 24 in just one year, and trust me, it was not because I became less busy all of the sudden.
The only reason I was able to do this was because I prioritized it. I turned my commute time into reading time. And I started using Audible to listen while walking, which freed up about 45 minutes daily. And this is more than enough to go through 2 books per month.
But what I do is nothing. The number of books that CEOs read on average is around 50-60 books per year (which is just insane)! I don’t know much about being a CEO, but I do know they are probably about an order of magnitude busier than I am. But these guys make the conscious decision to devote that much time to reading. Why do they do that? It’s because they have experienced, firsthand, the power of learning and recognize it is an absolute necessity for their life!
Before I started reading books, I felt completely lost in my then recruitment job – this was before I started doing career coaching in my current firm, Elevation Career. At that time, I had over 10 years of professional experience, yet I had little to show for. Sure, I had moments of success along the way but they were short-lived and sporadic in the end. I was struggling with the same challenges over and over again and never felt I had grasped what I was supposed to do. I was convinced major progress was not possible for me and, as a result, I constantly struggled with a lack of motivation which made things only worse.
But once I started on this learning journey, I’m not exaggerating, EVERYTHING about me changed. First, I started discovering so many new things, which gave me hope for meaningful advancement, creating a new momentum. I started recognizing what I was doing wrong, hindering my performance, and I made necessary changes.
Within just a few years, I started to see substantially more consistency in my results and felt like I was finally beginning to master my work. I started to close deals with such regularity, not only was I boosting my own numbers, soon I was helping any colleague who had trouble with closing and became the go-to-person in the firm. I also ended up improving the company’s overall performance as a whole. In just 3-4 years since I started active learning, I became a director, posted a record performance in the company’s history, and for the first time, I was having fun.
And believe me, I’m not saying these things to pat myself on the back or to brag. Please trust me. All I’m trying to do is to show you how I went from feeling totally stuck and hopeless (and not knowing what to do) | to achieving things that I never thought possible. And all this originated from learning. If you are struggling with motivation or frustrated in your career like I was, I hope this message will produce a new sense of excitement for what is possible for you. So that you can become the very best you can and fully impact the people you were called to bless.