In the world we live in today, a person cannot function beyond the level of information or knowledge possessed. The major factor of production in any properly functioning economic system is wisdom (i.e. applied knowledge). Your earning ability is largely dependent on your knowledge skill and your ability to use what you know in creating value. Knowledge becomes power when it is applied to solve problems and add value to society.
Deep in the heart of every person is all they need to succeed in life. This potential within is what must be released in order to live the fullness of life that you were created for. Education is vital in the training and releasing of this potential. It is through education of oneself that a person is positioned for tomorrow.
Have you ever noticed that the people who rise to the top of their field are those who are well vast in what they do? They have more relevant knowledge concerning their occupation. For you to rise above the next person out there, you must prove yourself to be more competent and more proficient in the delivery of your expertise. Education helps in this.
So where do you start? If you want true success in life, you must start with discovering your purpose in life. If there is one singular definition for success, it is the degree to which one fulfills purpose. Don’t be confused, success in life is not a result of facing one’s occupation squarely. Rather, the truly successful are those who have learned to preoccupy themselves with fulfilling their purpose.
Your purpose in life highlights the reason for your existence. It is that seed of destiny within you that is essential for living a fulfilled life here on earth. In discovering purpose you must learn to pay attention to what is happening deep within your heart. What problems catch your attention? In what are you passionate about adding value to lives? What little things do you do so easily that makes the world around you a better place?
If you can identify where your passion, experiences, opportunities and gifts align, you are on the path to discovering and fulfilling purpose. Once you get a sense of this intersection point within your heart, begin to do what you feel in your heart is most appropriate at the moment. Don’t wait for all the pieces to fall into place before you start making an impact with your life. Your impact grows as you become more competent, and you become more competent through education and excellent application of what you learn.
Many motivational speakers simply tell you to follow your heart and follow it passionately if you want to succeed. While there is something to this statement, it is not what will cause you to succeed. When you have discovered your area of purpose as described above, you must seek to develop yourself.
Many people do not make the advancement they feel they should be making in life because they have stopped learning. Passion alone cannot get you through to your destination, you must learn more. Granted, you may have accumulated a lot of knowledge in the past, but your accumulated knowledge and experience is becoming obsolete bit by bit, day by day. So it’s not about what you have learned, but it’s about how much you continue to learn in order to keep the “blade” of your mind sharp.
So what must you do? Commit to lifelong education! The average person does not read a book once they leave college. If you’ve ever wondered why there are so many average people in the world, this is one of the reasons. In the area of your purpose, you must develop a growth plan. The mistake we all make with our personal development is that we feel that growth will happen automatically, and doors of opportunity will open up for us at the right time. But will you be competent enough to seize an opportunity when it presents itself?
Success always leaves a trail behind. If you desire to be successful, be sure to learn as much as you can in your craft. Common knowledge puts you among average people, but the person who invests additional time and resources in increased learning is already a step further than the rest. Buy books, attend seminars, listen to audio seminars, pursue a master’s degree etc.
Every problem in life is a wisdom problem. Whenever you are faced with a problem, rather than give up on your abilities, you must learn to pursue wisdom. Find out what people who were in similar situations did in times past. Study theories and applications of possible solutions to the problem at hand, and begin to practice them.
Remember that knowledge is only power when it is put into practice. Whenever you add to your learning, don’t let it be dormant. Apply yourself in the smallest of areas and continually apply yourself. If you do something wrong, then revisit the books, and give it another shot. Perfect practice makes you perfect.
Keep these two things in mind as you push for growth.
1. Development occurs within the context of work. This means that you really cannot say you’ve developed yourself by education alone. You must learn to put to practice what you’ve learned. This is the process of working out your potential.
2. Growth occurs outside of your comfort zone. The fact that you are faced with a challenge and things seem extremely difficult is no indication that you’re on the wrong path or that you’re a failure. It may just mean that you have more development to undergo. So learn to perceive every problem that comes your way as an opportunity.
Article was originally published in Kedge Consulting April 2013 edition of Beyond Education Magazine.