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Monday, September 7, 2015

Ben Franklin

For many people learning stops after graduating from high school or college. They stop investing in themselves. While education will not cure all the world's problems, it will help us understand them and give us the skills to find the answers. 

I believe that reading is one of the most important ways of increasing one's knowledge.  I ask people when was the last time they read a book and many can't remember.  Some offer the excuse that they don't have the time between work and raising a family.  Others admit to not liking to read.

When I was a child growing up in the 1950s and 1960s, I had a more difficult time finding a good book than children do today.  In the farming community of 1800 where I grew up, there was a school library and a small community library.  The nearest bookstore was 25 miles away.  Yet, I was always able to find something to read even though my choices were limited.  Today, books are available in giant bookstores, through online bookstores, and in libraries. I can access and borrow books from libraries through out the state without leaving my home.  Books now come in several formats including the traditional printed books, audiobooks and ebooks.  And people have access to thousands of free books online.  Project Gutenberg offers over 49,000 free ebooks.

Learning, though, is not limited to books.  There are documentaries that teach us about the world in which we live as well as teach us new ideas and skills.  If you are a visual learner, like my wife, documentaries are a great way to learn new ideas.  And technology has now given us new ways to access this knowledge.  You can find documentaries on Netflix, Hulu and Youtube.

We can also find knowledge in seminars, workshops and lectures.  We can find workshops on many subjects from business topics to art, from cooking to writing, and from investing to storytelling.  TED Talks offers free lectures on many different topics.

We live in the information age.  There is an abundance of information.  I think if Ben Franklin suddenly appeared in our age that he would be amazed at the learning opportunities that people have.  Are you taking advantage of the plethora of knowledge at your finger tips?  When was the last time you learned a new skill? When was the last time you invested in yourself?

As creative leaders, we have a responsibility to invest in ourselves.  We need to grow and change.  We need to expand our knowledge base.  We need to find new ways of communicating our ideas.  Take the time today to invest in yourself.