I never was a fan of school per say, but I love to learn. There’s something exciting to me about the brain waking up to a new understanding of a topic. As we know, leaders are learners, but learners are made up of students. You know the difference, right? Learners absorb whatever is given to them, but students search out the unknown until fulfilled with knowledge. (That’s why you can’t just read your Bible, but should strive to study it too.) The discipline to stay a student doesn’t come easy, but it does develop your destiny. It’s not about what you know; it’s about what you understand. Here are some things I like to do to stay a student.
Most college kids will eventually have to jump the, “I don’t want to go to class today.” hurdle. While you have the option, it doesn’t mean you can afford the opportunity. Set a time to “go to class” and stick with it. It should be a set time daily or weekly for as long as you determine to learn strictly more about something you don’t know enough about. The great part of this class is you determine how long it will be. I have what I call “Sunday School”, and will typically spend 1-2 hours researching or reading something I’m not familiar with. Find the time. Make the time. Just GO to class!
Remember your favorite teacher? It’s not that you liked the way they taught, it’s more that you liked the way you retained the knowledge. Find a study style that works for you. A quiet library with a book may drive you nuts. I prefer a busy coffee shop with a playlist of Youtube videos. Find your flow and get in the know. (Apologies for the cheesy rhyme.)
Every field in every industry has their expert on the topic. When you search out a topic, find the person who knows everything about it, and become an online fan. Follow their stuff, and saturate yourself with their content for as long as you need it. When you feel like you got what you need, move on to the next topic.
Getting comfortable with the amount of knowledge you understand is easy. When you stretch yourself, that’s where the real fun begins. We recently were expanding some things with our databases in the ministry. I know what a database is and how it functions, but I didn’t know how they connect with each other. So a few Sunday’s and a ton of boring Youtube videos later, I get it! By doing that I am now in a better position (as a leader) to make the qualified decisions, to keep the vision moving forward.