2019: The Year of the Learner

I just read an interesting blog called the “Future of Learning” off the Medium blog site by Niklas Göke.

The point of his essay is that learning itself is a skill and the person who can learn how to learn will be “exactly the person an unpredictable world needs.”

He and Emilie Wapnick both suggest that if you can learn to learn across multiple domains, you can then specialize faster when you choose to do so or remain a generalist, standing out against the world of specialists.  So what do they advise?

Don’t change if you are a generalist, don’t narrow your focus to get ahead in your career.

Challenge yourself to grasp concepts of broad variety, like microbiology, auto repair, knitting, and aerospace.

Learn the difference between what is important and what is unimportant and combine many bits of information into a broad picture of the world. (Yuval Noah Harari)

What will the skill of learning get you? Well, if the knowledge you learn in a university education only lasts 5 years and companies rise and fall all around us very quickly, learning to learn will help you become what Emilie Wapnick calls a “Multipotentialite.” These are people who can synthesize ideas, innovate, rapidly learn, stay flexible, stand out from the specialists, and be adaptable.

In an unpredictable world with many complex problems and to much information, being a person who can be receptive to multiple perspectives and hold them in your head all at once, keep an open mind, one that allows new information in and allows the picture of reality to evolve and become coherent will be very valuable in the future.

So in 2019, Let’s all vow to be learners. Keep an open mind, build a real picture in your mind, and invest in it.

books on bookshelves

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Austin, Texas