New Year’s Eve is seen by many as a time for renewal, a time for establishing new goals, a time for laying the groundwork for new habits. Here are some suggestions for how you might make yourself a bit smarter in the New Year that starts tomorrow.
Ways to get smarter
Thomas Oppong, the founder of Alltopstartups, created a list of small habits you can establish to get a bit smarter in 2015. I liked his list and I am going to give you my top five. I try to exercise these habits all the time.
I think exercising your curiosity is a key to being successful, especially in Human Resources. To be a good in HR I think you need to be curious, especially about people. What makes your employees tick? Why do they do, or have done, what they do in their lives? I think it was Brian Tracy who once said “To be interesting you must be interested.” Be curious about your employees beyond what they do at work. This curiosity will make a connection.
Learn something new everyday
I combine a couple of Oppong’s habits here. Find yourself a source of knowledge and take some time each day to learn something from it. I have an application that pulls articles from many different sources on many different things. In fact I have it search on 120 different areas of interest. I will skim a portion of this list every day and stop and read an article. It may be business, HR, archeology, history, literature, photography, woodworking, exercise, fashion, or books. What this learning does is help you become a better conversationalist. Oppong uses a quote from Steve Jobs when discussing learning random new things. Jobs said “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.” You never know how that new knowledge will benefit you.
Break a routine
Many of us get into routines. Often we discover something that was helpful and then we stick with it. We get stuck in a “RUT-ine” of doing the same thing and never think about changing it. There is comfort in habit, but there is discovery in doing something new. You will not discover a new restaurant if you don’t go a different way to work. You will not discover a new food if you always eat the same thing. Think about the things you do every day and try to do something different tomorrow.
Expose yourself to different world views
My daughter once told me that I would get a different perspective on the world if I listened to the news on BBC and indeed she was correct. Seek out and read and listen to different news sources. Read authors from different cultures. We talk all the time in HR about having a “global” perspective, but how can you do that if you don’t actually get global information all the time?
Surround yourself with smarter people
If you are the smartest person in your group then you will never learning anything. It may stroke your ego to be the smartest one, but eventually you backslide because you are not learning anything. Find a group of people, either in real life or online, that you can ask questions of and learn from.
Reading Oppong’s list and writing this post made me realize I have some additional work to do in my life. Time to get started.