Chapter 18. Lifelong Learning Counts

"The only true certainty is uncertainty, and the only true source of lasting competitive advantage is knowledge."

Learning ability, intellectual capital, knowledge, and technical know-how are all intangibles. But these intangibles are among your most important assets, as everything you do to reinvent and update your knowledge allows you stay in the game and competitively perform.

People today work more with knowledge than with skill. While these two have many similar characteristics, we must focus on the dissimilar characteristic. A person's skill set changes very slowly over a long period of time, but knowledge empowers its own change. Knowledge—or what some call "intellectual capital"—is unique in that it cannibalizes itself. In a very short period of time, it makes itself obsolete, a relic and example of yesterday's strength being today's liability.

Lifelong learning rests upon the twin principles of personal development and social service. The social and economic development of a country, a company, and a community is increasingly dependent upon the knowledge and skills of its citizens in the global knowledge economy. Those who have the lowest levels of skill and the weakest capacity for constant updating will find themselves uncompetitive and most likely unemployed. Therefore, it is imperative that everyone commit to becoming a student for life, as the knowledge we currently possess is not sufficient for capitalizing on future opportunities. ...

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