We know learning is important; but do we really learn?
Ask anyone what they think of learning; everyone will say it is essential. There is tremendous conceptual clarity on the importance of learning. Almost all feel that without learning we do not grow, we do not innovate and we will stagnate!
The key question then is: do we really learn? Before we say, ‘of course’ we must introspect and arrive at an honest answer. Any degree of self deception will not be helpful.
I agree that every experience teaches something, but I am not sure if everyone learns from experiences. I say this because experience is what happens to you, but learning is what you choose to do. It is very intentional. It requires conscious effort to learn, it is certainly not accidental. To engage into intentional learning, one may consider following steps:
Start humble and stay humble; it is a prerequisite for learning.
Beware of the wide gap between intention and action; many have the intent to learn; but actions related to learning are always postponed.
Take a pause after every experience and reflect on how you went through that experience.
Try writing a journal or draw a sketch of your reflections; thought clarity improves when you scribble
Be honest and be strict with yourself, without losing confidence
Listen to understand and process in your mind; it is a great channel of learning
Develop the habit of reading a few pages daily or listening to an audio book or browsing a few blogs
Invest a bit of money for your self improvement; do not have to splash too much money
Try applying on the job or in every role of you life what you learned; it will help you internalize the learning better.
Finally, remember that acquiring degrees or certificates is not learning; it is how much you grow as a person and as a professional.