The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.

—Alvin Toffler


If you’ve attended any of your high school reunions, you’ve no doubt realized that the same observations have been made by alumni across the country: Who looks good? Who’s aged poorly? Who’s transformed so much that we hardly recognize them?

Conversation regarding who’s transformed extends to the professional realm as well. Most everyone in the class has reached the same milestones in their careers, but some have done really well. Some everyone expected, but there are always surprises—the people never predicted to do well but have somehow transformed into successes. How did they do it?

New studies show that what separates those who went beyond what everyone else achieved is something very simple: they maintained the ability to keep on learning. Those who stay on a quest to learn beyond school have an immeasurable potential. And they’ll attend each subsequent reunion more successful, every time.

Jonah was voted the class slacker when he was in high school, so there were probably more than a few lifted eyebrows at his reunions. Getting his history degree was easy enough, he said, but it wasn’t until he volunteered at a local school that he found his passion for education. Like a good portion of his generation, he decided to go into teaching.

He felt the ideal situation would be to develop young people in a high-integrity ...

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