I was once given the advice that if you truly want to succeed in life, you need to become an activist. I wasn’t sure what she meant at first. I thought being an activist meant staging protests, and organizing fund raising campaigns and ballot initiatives. But the further I went along in school and especially after I entered the workforce, I learned just how important it is to be an activist in your education, in your career, and in your life.
You Are In Charge Of Your Own Learning
As an activist, you need to put yourself in charge of your learning. If you think about all there is to know about a subject, any one course, teacher, or textbook will only teach you a very limited subset. Their goal is to introduce you to specific list of facts and concepts in a fixed period of time. Most students will passively listen to the teacher, study the key points for the exam, and leave the course assuming they learned something.
An activist, however, does not sit by and accept the passive learning of a fixed curriculum. An activist will enthusiastically embrace the material, ask questions, test his/her understanding, and seek out new sources of information.
Go beyond the classroom.
An activist will go beyond the classroom. Most students sit through class, do their homework, and consider themselves done. However, the most successful students in any class or training program are also the same ones who spend the most time investigating the material outside of class. A true activist will seek out information for the sake of learning, because it is interesting, because they are passionate about it, and because they know it will help them succeed above all others.
Don’t stop learning, ever.
An activist never stops learning. In this day and age, knowledge, job skills, technology, and just about everything else becomes outdated and obsolete in a matter of months or years. It is important to never stop learning. An activist will constantly seek out new knowledge, new skills, and new experience. An activist is always asking “Why?”, “How?”, “I wonder if…?”, and “What else?”
The key to really learning any skill or subject is to use what you learn and experiment with it. Many people prefer to wait until they feel comfortable and secure in their knowledge before attempting to use it.
The opposite is true for an activist. For an activist, experimenting, trying, failing, and retrying is an essential part of the learning process. Take what you learn and try it out right away. Experiment with it. See what works and what doesn’t. Then go back and try to figure out why.
Adopting the attitude of an activist will take you far in your learning and in your career. The ultimate advantage of being an activist is that you will quickly rise above all the others. You will know more and be able to do more. You will quickly earn admiration and recognition from your supervisors and colleagues. In any project or work environment, the activists are the ones who stand out and truly excel.