Keep Learning! But It’s Summer…

By: Susan S. Askew, PE, CSEP
Black Swans Rising, LLC

It’s the middle of summer and the students (and teachers) are happy to have a brain break for a few weeks. They’ve been busy the whole school year cramming all kinds of knowledge in their heads – they NEED a break. But what about us adults? Have we spent the year just mentally on idle, slogging away at the daily grind? I hope not! We set up learning opportunities for our kids over the summer – various sports or academic camps. What do you do for YOUR brain during the year? Take a little time for yourself and feed that muscle between your ears!

Many of us in Huntsville have worked in technical fields, for DoD, commercial businesses, medical or educational organizations, both paid and volunteer. Many have certifications, licenses, or credentials that must be renewed every year or so. One thing they all have in common is a requirement for annual training. Not just the mandatory security or administrative process training – but real, relevant, current, technical or industry-related subjects intended to increase our knowledge in our chosen fields. Why is that? Haven’t we proven ourselves enough by doing our jobs well every day?

Well, maybe it’s because there is more than just keeping us updated on the latest technologies to increase profits. We humans need to keep learning to keep our brains from atrophying, like any underused muscle would. Just check out all the articles online and from various medical sources about the importance of keeping your mind busy and engaged, especially as we age. []

The trick is to find the “learning” that you love – and finding a way to love the learning activity itself. It can be hard sometimes to be excited about training thrust upon us, but when we have a chance to shape what that learning opportunity is, we should be able to find something that stimulates our minds, either at work or outside work. It doesn’t even have to cost anything – the internet is FREE! Learning isn’t a treadmill or a death march – at least it shouldn’t be. You can learn a new skill or hobby you’ve thought about trying before. Take up a new volunteer job in the community helping others, or learn a new language together with your whole family! Be CURIOUS. Find some enjoyment in what you “have to” learn – but also find some things that are a joy to explore. Grow your brain. Flex your knowledge! And as my friend and teaching colleague, David Swinney, likes to say: “KEEP LEARNING!”

Susan Askew lives and works in South Huntsville as an educator and small business owner. Black Swans Rising (BSRi) serves businesses and education communities with business operations and management consulting services and products, partnering with clients to develop their sustainable and innovative solutions. For more information on what BSRi can do for your organization, contact “Black Swans Rising – Delivering the Unexpected”

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