A wise man once said that power is knowledge, and he was right. It is not only the years that we spend in high-school and college that are important for acquiring skills, and information, but also the duration of our careers. A job is a continuous process of learning new things and putting them too good use, and those who fail to understand this will probably lose it, or never be promoted. Just think about it this way. Would you rather work side-by-side with a person that has several intellectual interests, and who is always learning new things, or with one that always does what he/she is told, but always sticks to old principles and techniques that may no longer be valid, or the best solutions in today’s society.
The sad truth is that 1/5 of what you know, what you can do, and what you have learned will become obsolete knowledge next year. Therefore, you have to always learn and acquire relevant skills for your niche. Here are a few tricks that will help you with this process:
Subscribe to several online publications that write about the field that you are working in. You could also read books and newspapers more regularly. I am amazed by the lack of knowledge that people show. Not only do certain individuals refuse to stay current, but they don’t have any knowledge of the world. Who would ever want such an employee?
Exercise curiosity to acquire new job skills
People who are not curious, or have no desire/interest to grow professionally (and personally) also lack the capabilities to do so. Reading the latest news, becoming a student of the World, knowing what’s happening in politics, your continent, the environment, arts etc., is very important. Always challenge yourself to understand more about the opposing editorial positions, comment if you have anything to add and pay attention to the leading voices in your industry. You will soon find that the internet is the place where you can find (almost) any type of information.
As interesting as online information digging can be, there are still multiple solutions offline like going to an art-gallery, concert, ballet etc. There you can meet and approach people from your field of work. Every work-place must look for and cultivate talented people, and if you have other intellectual interests, you will surely stand-out in the eyes of your higher-ups, and also learn new things.
Network outside your comfort zone
As we said, it is great to find stuff online, but sometimes we have to move from our comfort zone and seize new opportunities. For example, you could join a professional group or organization that is focused on your present career. Follow people you believe you can learn from, go to webinars and participate in different events. By doing this you will challenge yourself, and also reach out to like-minded individuals. You might actually be amazed how often people will gladly agree to give you a few minutes of their time to discuss their favorite topic. Even if you don’t know any artist or successful business person, you can still go to an event and strike up a conversation. Every company has to socialize with others in their sphere, and your boss will most likely appreciate the fact that you are cultivating your other talents.
These are only a few tricks that will help you brush up on your knowledge, and increase your influence not only within the company, but also outside it. Don’t be afraid to socialize, and even if you are a little shy, you can exercise online first. Once you have discussed with several influencers, you can step up the game, and move to the offline medium.