Why learning habits matter.
“Your outcomes are a lagging measure of your habits. Your net worth is a lagging measure of your financial habits. Your weight is a lagging measure of your eating habits. Your knowledge is a lagging measure of your learning habits. Your clutter is a lagging measure of your cleaning habits. You get what you repeat.”
James Clear, Atomic Habits
If knowledge is a lagging measure of our learning habits, then we are building our future selves right now.
We rely on habit for most of the tasks we perform every day. We do so much automatically.
Shocks to the system (like, say, global pandemics) jolt us out of our routines and make us uncomfortable. We don’t know where we’re going and we can’t rely on where we’ve been.
Jolts are scary, but they provide opportunities to reevaluate what matters. Redefine yourself with new goals and challenges. A vision for where you’d like to be in the future.
No matter what industry we are in, we will be forced to reinvent ourselves for the new realities of our world. Increased digitization. Altered socialization. Adapted workplaces.
So what do you do?
Start now. Start small. And focus on trajectory.
If you embrace habits of continual growth by learning something new every day, not worrying about the results of your learning but refining the process. If you focus on getting slightly better every day at the skills you predict will be essential in the future (communication, collaboration, adaptability), then you will be on a trajectory of growth.
And success does not have to be linear. Any progress you make in the coming months will almost certainly be circuitous. You will evolve in fits and starts. But in time, you’ll be able to measure the difference between who you are now to who you become…and smile at the results.
Results lag actions, but you will reap the rewards.
So whatever you do, start now.