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Published:March 13th, 2006 14:06 EST
Learning is Your Competitive Edge!

Learning is Your Competitive Edge!

By Simon Bailey (Mentor/Columnist)

Today, I want to share with you a story from a friend named Sandy, who in my opinion is a Living Diamond:


You could probably call me a “perpetual learner,” not to be confused with a “perpetual student.” I don’t like that uncomfortable feeling you get when you’re bored with yourself and feel stale. The exploration of new information is a “rush” for me.

You could probably call me a “perpetual learner,” not to be confused with a “perpetual student.” I don’t like that uncomfortable feeling you get when you’re bored with yourself and feel stale. The exploration of new information is a “rush” for me.


Learning is more than just showing up and listening. I think the gift is in the curiosity – the need to know more and then take what is learned and put it to work, sometimes in unexpected ways. The subject doesn’t really matter – it could be calculus or knitting. It’s the process of learning that’s important.

The setting doesn’t have to be in a classroom. The teacher can be a book, a friend, a trip, an audiotape, or a software program. It can be as simple as allowing yourself solitude to think, review, and analyze things differently. Or the process can be lengthy, with stops and starts, and then a look back filled with pride at what you’ve accomplished.


My career in the financial services arena lasted 19 years until industry downsizing caught up with me. Fortunately, I had a number of options because I had developed transferable knowledge and skills through involvement in professional organizations. Those skills helped me move forward again in my career. My goal was always to learn more, not necessarily to grab a promotion or a better position. Some people do the same job in the same way for years. In today’s workplace, that’s dangerous. Change easily outpaces us. If you don’t continually learn, you may become unqualified for your job.
A few months after I started a job in a new field, I attended a workshop. There I was exposed to new ideas! I was captivated by the information and suddenly felt like I had found a part of myself that had been, if not lost, at least overlooked. There was that “aha” moment during the seminar when my body and brain both wanted to dance.

My mind raced, thinking of ways I could use this information. I realized for the first time how important it was for me to challenge myself intellectually.


My mother once told me I’d better find a man and get married because I’d never make it on my own. Imagine how I felt when my brief marriage ended in divorce. Being on my own, I’ve learned to do simple home repairs, install molding, hang curtain rods, paint, stencil, clean out the dryer vent on the roof, and plant the landscaping. One promise I made to myself was that I would not stay home just because I didn’t have someone to travel with. Now, traveling alone is one of my greatest joys! I love to rent a car and just go exploring.


In life, we have to set our own goals and celebrate our own victories – even if no one else notices. What a wonderful feeling of accomplishment it is when you learn a new skill, absorb new information, conquer a fear or try something new.


This is the last Brilliant Carat for 2005. The next Brilliant Carat will be sent to you by January 13, 2006.