|Me, circa 1988.|
As adults, it's important to continuously seek experiences that evoke our sense of wonder and make us feel like the first time we made the colour pink.It takes effort to look for such mind-blowing experiences given that we spend the majority of our adult lives at work - a place where spontaneity becomes less likely as we are rewarded for completing tasks with pre-defined outcomes. If you're actively looking for thought-provoking experiences to enrich your life then consider working for a company that fosters a culture of learning.
The idea of continuous education and learning in the workplace is not a new idea; interestingly, few companies actually pull off a real culture of learning. Almost every organization has learning policies where employees are given a yearly allowance to take courses but such initiatives don't necessarily put learning at the forefront of the organization. In other words, your company doesn't have a learning culture just because they foot the bill for that pricey conference you attend year after year. A corporate culture of learning runs much deeper than isolated events.
In a previous job, my colleague Maria and I started a book club; sadly, we were the only members. Working in the software industry, we were keen on a reading a mix of work-related books and inspirational books (i.e., Rework, Into the Wild, 100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know about People). Everyone that heard about the book club thought it was funny or perhaps charming; but overall, there was zero interest from our colleagues. Perhaps our book club of two was a blessing in disguise because it meant that I had a bigger say in our reading list. I look back on our short-lived book club and I realize that both Maria and I wanted something more than an insightful lunchtime conversation. We sought a culture of learning that our current employer simply didn't have. If you're someone who has a natural curiosity, find a job where there are others like you. It changes everything. Maria and I have left that employer and each work for different start-ups that have the culture we were looking for.
Companies that truly foster a learning culture focus on lessons leaned each day on the job. What did you learn about yourself, your colleagues, or your customers this week? These are questions you should be asking yourself and and others. After all, learning in context increases the likelihood of retention. It's also important that you and your peers make time to share newly-learned information as part of your daily or weekly routine. Seeking wisdom from daily life isn't easy but if you're surrounded by people who are trying to do the same, you'll learn a ton with the same excitement that you felt during your preschool days.