By Mark Masters, author of The Content Revolution

A commitment to continuous learning is a huge asset to challenge our current thinking and help us become more creative.

Without going into the topic of the increasing distribution of content resulting in information overload and an attention deficit, we are all now consuming at a rate we have never had before. It always staggers me when I mention the IBM statistic that 90% of all the data in the world has been generated over the last two years (this was stated in 2013).

More Ideas To Create

When it comes to reading, the channels to immerse ourselves in are plentiful. The blogs, mini blogging on Twitter, and longer form content on spaces such as LinkedIn, all encourage us to read someone else’s viewpoint and to make our own decisions (but there is only so much ’10 reasons why…’ type of posts can challenge us). The more informed we are, from the people who influence us, the more ideas we can create.

I don’t consider Twitter feeds and Facebook entries as learning (or even reading for that matter), just snackable content. A huge change in my thinking has been the amount of books that I now read. The ability to immerse myself inside a book, concentrate and shut off from the distraction of the next tweet/post/email looking to grab my attention, is something that I’ve become better at during the past year.

When we can shut out other distractions, these are the main ways that we can learn by being focused and asking ourselves more questions about how we think we can fix things that are broken within our industries and the perspectives that shape our opinion.

Continuous Learning As Competitive Advantage

When it comes to our own development, teaching ourselves becomes such a valuable tool. The last thing I want to do with this article is to come across all ‘life coach’ on you, but in order for us to differentiate from the mass of competition that is in your marketplace, our own quests for continual learning becomes our competitive advantage.

With the increase in digital technology, the consumer is also now in complete control of the decision process. From the consumers desktop, to their tablet and to their phone, the world has moved on from knowing which newspaper your audience read, the radio station they listened to and what TV show they watched in ‘real time’. We can’t remain in a state of accepting the way that the world was and be dormant in our knowledge.

I am a firm believer that we have to be relentlessly curious, a phrased coined by TED curator Chris Anderson, to advance our knowledge and skills. The old system is failing business. The days of ticking a few boxes where you go to a local networking event, join a business group and think that writing a press release to send to the local newspaper is the answer to our communication efforts is no more. This left the building when SEGA’s Gamecast became something that the gaming world didn’t want anymore.

An Ongoing Commitment

Learning has to be accepted as an ongoing commitment and when we find the right channels to inspire us, then the floodgates can open, rather than scratching around to find a topic that resonates with us as individuals and learners.

Author and speaker, Mitch Joel highlighted in a Talking Content interview that “being inspired is not a destination, but you need to get inspired and proactively look to become energised.” We can’t wait for the screen that is in front of us to tell us what to do, we need to become fascinated about the world that is around us and take responsibility for our own learning. Gone are the days of training programmes and prescriptive teaching, to become more creative we need to become more continuous with our efforts.

Acknowledge Change

As individuals and business owners we need to acknowledge change and be able to adapt to a new world we are now part of. Those who can be reducated will always be in higher demand than the option that still relies on using old marketing tactics.

Rounding Up

If we embrace with an open mind and have willingness to become excited and inquisitive towards our learning the rewards of credibility, trust and self- confidence are in abundance.