Guest Contributor

Why Your Career Success Depends on Your Willingness to Learn

By | Sarah Kaminksi

Are you looking for ways to climb the career ladder? Do you want to start your own business, or have you set your sights on a top position in a Fortune 500 company? Do you want to enjoy your job more and feel more accomplished?

Becoming a lifelong learner and demonstrating your willingness to learn can help you achieve all of those goals. Here’s how.

It Makes You a Better Hire

A willingness to learn instantly makes you a better hire. First, you will have already spent time improving and gathering new knowledge and skills, so chances are you will know and be able to do more than a lot of the other candidates.

As 34% of companies consider being a fast learner one of the top skills an employee should have, your demonstrated desire to keep improving can quickly set you apart from everyone else.

It Makes You More Creative

The fact that you are constantly prepared to learn and evolve will also make you more creative. By amassing different experiences and reading about varied topics, you’ll be able to produce more creative solutions based on all the information you’ve been in touch with already.

Even if you don’t know how to solve a problem, you will know where to look for a solution.

You Are Better Prepared for the Unexpected

In order to truly become successful in any career, you will often have to face the unexpected. Knowing how to deal with stressful, unpleasant, and sudden situations is much easier when you’ve chosen to keep continually bettering yourself.

At the very least, you’ll have become the kind of person who welcomes a challenge. You’ll be the kind of professional who knows that their skills are flawed but is nevertheless ready to try and figure out the best approach to a problem.

For instance, learning a language like Spanish may appear to have little to do with career success. However, a new language will expand your mind and literally rewire your brain. The learning process itself will force you to think on your feet. It’s great for combating the everyday challenges of the workplace.

It Makes You More Confident

Learning anything new is a great way to feel better about yourself. When you overcome even a small obstacle, you will feel accomplished and proud of yourself, and this feeling will fuel your overall performance.

The more challenging the task you can overcome, the more confident you will become. However, make sure not to inadvertently set yourself up for failure by setting the bar too high. Start small and slow, and work your way up to bigger and more complex challenges.

Yet again, remember that you don’t necessarily have to start with a skill that is directly related to your job. Improving your painting skills can help you too.

It Makes You a Team Player

People who are always ready to learn are more often team players. Typically, they are less likely to take offense when being criticized or outshined. As you keep working on yourself, you will understand that you can’t be the best at everything. You will welcome constructive criticism, knowing that it’s what you need to help you improve.

You will also understand how to complement someone else’s skills, which will instantly make you a better team player. As people who can genuinely and productively work with others are rare, this will significantly boost your employability and promotability.

It Makes You More Flexible

Being willing to learn means that you will be more flexible at your job and ready to jump on and take on tasks that may not be a part of your main role. As a fast learner and, more importantly, someone who is prepared to take on something new, you will be seen as valuable and flexible. Both are traits that employers appreciate and promote.

This does not mean you should become a yes man and take on more than you reasonably can. But if there is room to shine and you are interested in the challenge, use your willingness to learn to demonstrate your worth.

It Makes Failing Easier

Failure is an inevitable part of any job. Being continuously ready to learn will ensure that you embrace failure as a natural part of the learning process. This will reduce your overall stress levels, as you understand you need to go through several iterations of a solution before you get it right.

This will make you not only better at your job but also a better colleague, as you don’t waste time and energy on lauding the mistakes.

Wrapping Up

A genuine willingness to learn can transform your career in a matter of months. Choose a skill that you would like to improve, whether it is work-related or not, and start enjoying all the benefits of lifelong learning.

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