When you look at the most iconic leaders and entrepreneurs, it's easy to focus on the outward symbols of their success--acquisitions, IPOs, or titles, for example. Yet it is their internal achievement--the development of a growth mindset--that is really their greatest driver of success.
One of the biggest factors for sustainable achievement is a growth mindset that values learning. Icons like Mark Zuckerberg, Oprah, Arianna Huffington, and Bill Gates are always finding ways to learn new things and grow as people.
It's easy to fall into the trap of thinking that you don't have enough time to learn, but that's simply not true. You have the same amount of time in your day as Oprah; you just need to find ways to fit learning into your busy schedule.
Here are eight easy ways to keep learning and growing, no matter how busy you may be.
There's a reason why Bill Gates, Oprah, and Mark Zuckerberg make reading such a big priority. We are significantly shaped by the stories we read and the information we absorb.
Find books that feed your curiosities or speak to specific skills. Allow biographies to inspire and novels to spur your imagination. Reading provides new knowledge, fresh perspectives, and a playful imagination that can carry over into all parts of you life. Audiobooks make this easier than ever.
Listen to a podcast
It's amazing how much you can learn--both in terms of breadth and depth--by listening to a podcast.
Podcasts are a dream for the busy entrepreneur, as you can listen to them in short sessions when you have 10 or 15 minutes to spare. I always listen to a podcast while I'm traveling for business--making use of the time that is wasted while waiting at the airport.
Spend time with different people
You should always be meeting others who have skills, knowledge, and experiences that differ from your own. Break away from your industry or CEO groups and start hanging out with high performers in other industries or professions. Interacting with artists and professionals from other industries has been a source of inspiration that broadens my perspective--and it can do the same for you.
You'll learn as much about yourself as you will about others when you take time to travel the world. Exposure to new scenery, cuisines, languages, and cultures forces you to learn new things and observe the way others live.
You don't need to wait for a vacation to benefit from travel. On your next business trip, make the time to explore a new neighborhood or interact with locals.
In 18 minutes or less, some of the world's brightest thinkers share cutting-edge discoveries, innovative research, and inspiring stories. A single TED Talk can forever shape your perspective. Download the TED app to find new talks and save your favorites.
Find time to think
A few years ago, I decided to drive in silence instead of listening to a podcast or audiobook. After a few minutes, I experienced multiple epiphanies.
That day, I learned that you need to give your brain a break in order to process the information that is constantly coming in. Silence gives you the opportunity to develop original ideas and sort out all of the thoughts jumbled up in your head.
Ignore the people who tell you to "always be hustling." Find and protect the time you need to reflect and think. Meditating is a great way to do this. Walking, hiking, and spending time in nature are other great ways to experience a more reflective environment.
Work with a mentor
No one has it all figured out, but there are many who can offer you wisdom and advice. Find someone who is further down life's path or deeper into his or her career and ask them to share from their knowledge and experience. You'll gain confidence and assurance, and learn more than you could on your own.
Learn a new sport or physical activity
Get out of your mind and connect with your body by learning a new form of exercise. Not only will physical activity keep you healthy, but the process of learning something from scratch will give you new skills you can take into your work.
When I learned how to box, it gave me a renewed sense of patience and improvisation. It also taught me the balance between offense and defense--which is information I regularly use when negotiating or working with others.
Many of the most successful entrepreneurs and leaders live with a growth mindset. They view learning as a necessary and regular activity that contributes to their personal growth and professional success. Make learning a constant in your life and adopt some of these recommendations. Growth never becomes obsolete.