Are you a product of lifelong learning? Many successful people will tell you that you are, or that you should be. Are you going for a new job? Is your card punched?
Card Punch Myth
You’ve probably heard the phrase, “Get your card punched.” It is a catch-all phrase, designed to suggest that without a high school diploma, a two-year, four-year, masters, or doctoral degree you cannot succeed.
Certainly, it is unlikely that many would argue with the high school diploma. As the degrees get bigger and the requirements more intense the population with each degree gets smaller.
There are some occupations that require specific degrees or certifications. Medical doctors are an easy example. In these cases, there is a minimum requirement for entry.
Is your card punched? Does it need to be?
Falsely, many people believe that a degree (or not having one) is what is limiting their success. Yet, everyday someone gets a job without the certificate, without the degree, and without their card punched.
The argument is that, “they knew someone,” or “they got lucky.” Both are potentially true, so perhaps balancing degree pursuit with relationship building is a requirement.
Ask Bill Gates or Michael Dell about the card punch.
Lifelong learning is an important idea. Anyone who wants to be progressive in their career should have the fundamental understanding that continuous and lifelong learning is a requirement.
What does lifelong learning mean? It means you’re continuing to grow. It may be through formal education. Perhaps through a mentor, coach, or professional training. It could also be through reading, video watching, and individualized study that is self-designed.
You can never stop expanding. Most people are not born into a specific career. They make their career. Some of that is based on formal education and some of it on relationships, hard work, and yes, even luck.
If you want change and advancement you’re going to have to learn more.
Evidence of degrees earned appearing on the wall, an acronym following your name, or a professional salutation are great. Keep in mind they represent evidence, not a ticket to the show.
What you can really do is so much more important.
Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.