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2018-05-21 Issue 48 Fundamental Behavior 21 Be A Lifelong Learner
My grandparents on my father’s side were lifelong learners. They were always curious about and fascinated by new things. I admired them greatly for that, and hope that I can maintain the same practice they did. I think the practice of learning makes for a more fulfilled and happy life. Of course, we live in a dynamic time and work for a dynamic company, so we all really need to commit to being lifelong learners just to stay relevant. The pace of change is fast, and that pace is not just accelerating, that acceleration rate is increasing rapidly.
Here are some interesting points to think about when we try to put the rate of change into context. It took seven million years for the human population to reach seven billion. We will add two billion more in just 30 years. Technology, of course, is the driver of this pace of change. And things are not slowing down. Futurist Ray Kurzweil (and Google Director of Engineering) said that at this rate of change, advancement in the 21st century will be equivalent to the advancement seen over the last 20,000 years. In other words, he is saying that 2099 will look as alien to us as life in 2018 would look to someone who lived in 17,982 B.C. (Timeline hint: Mammoth hunting was a thing then). Personally, I hope Mr. Kurzweil is wrong, but I get his point. Things are changing quickly.
It took the radio industry 38 years to reach an audience of 50 million. The television industry reached 50 million in 13 years. The Internet reached the 50 million user mark in four years. Facebook hit that mark in two years. Candy Crush did it in less than 60 days, and Pokemon Go hit 50 million users in 19 days! Right now, if Facebook were a country, it would be the 3rd most populous, behind only China and India. And frankly, Facebook may be facing obsolescence in just a few years. My teenage children will not consider using it, they think it is for ‘old people.’ I never got on it, so I am not sure what that makes me.
Obviously, we will need to pursue new technologies, processes, and systems to remain competitive in the future. We need lifelong learners to expand the scope of their expertise. So please, please, please, be curious. If you learn about something you think will help us grow, then learn some more, then share it. The pace of change is just too fast for any one of us to keep up with, but if all of us are learning and sharing, then I am sure we can thrive in any environment, no matter how fast it may be.
YKK Corporation of America