In the days when a college education was followed by a lifetime career, a student would graduate from a university or trade school between the ages of 22 and 25 and then devote his working career to a company until retirement.
Today companies come and go overnight and entire industries can become obsolete in a very short time. In the last one hundred years the transportation industry has evolved from horses and stagecoaches to cars, trains, and planes. Fifty years ago the computer was a vacuum-tube prototype that filled a room. Now it is small enough to fit on a desk and is as common as the TV set.
The person who spent only his early years learning and then stopped can end up jobless when his knowledge becomes obsolete. For instance, the technicians and scientists who attended school in the ’30s and ’40s hoped to be on the forefront of the technological advances that were expected to revolutionize the world in the ’50s and ’60s. The demand for their knowledge came and went in a blinding flash, and by the early ’70s technology had advanced far beyond what most people had imagined. Thousands of highly skilled workers, many of whom made great sacrifices for their knowledge, were rendered obsolete. They assumed their knowledge would be in demand for the rest of their working lifetime. Suddenly, in what they thought would be the prime of their lives, they found they were no longer needed. Many of them went back to school but found they were no match for the younger generation who raced right past them.
Now the industry is changing so fast a significant technical revolution seems to occur every few years. A student will not benefit from many years of schooling if he cannot use his knowledge productively. Today’s business career and perhaps life as well, requires constant learning and growth. No school in the world can give you enough knowledge to last you the rest of your life. You must learn continually on your own.
Our world changes so rapidly, nobody is safe from the onslaught of advancement and those who choose not to adapt will most certainly risk being left behind. Today’s workers can expect to have four to five different jobs or career changes during their working lifetime.
Your desire for independence is a powerful motivator. Once you tap into your ability to teach yourself you can adapt to the changes and challenges the world throws at you. The first time you teach yourself something you will gain tremendous confidence that you might never have imagined you could possess. As a result of your new confidence, you will be totally confident that you can learn just about anything, without depending on others.
...excerpt from The Ultimate Lesson