Are You a “Lifelong Learner”?

“I don’t know.”  How often do we say it?  How often do we hear it?  I imagine it is something people don’t want to say very often.  Maybe there is the thought or feeling that you are expected to know everything and there may be a negative perception of you if you don’t have all of the answers.

Perhaps we would hear it or even say it more often if we realized the impact of adding a few more words to the statement.  “I don’t know, but I will find out” coveys a totally different message and it has the potential to positively impact the person saying it and those who hear it.

In our culture where being right or having all of the information is highly valued, there is a hesitancy or absolute refusal  to acknowledge that maybe we don’t know everything or that we don’t have the knowledge or information that is required or requested in this moment.

That is unfortunate for so many reasons, mostly because we miss an opportunity to step into the “lifelong learner” mode and set a high standard.

Consider the impact of saying “I don’t know but I will find out.”  You relieve yourself of the burden of having to have all of the answers.  You step into “lifelong learner” mode where you take the personal responsibility of gathering the knowledge, information and/or experience that may benefit you or those around you.

This statement conveys a strong message about you.  “I don’t know but I will find out” translates to “I am not content with not knowing.  I want to know so I will find out.” It is your personal reminder that whenever you are in doubt or uninformed you have been presented with a learning opportunity.

Another benefit of this statement is that it establishes high expectations for those around you and supports a culture of continuous learning. The message is “On this team, in this organization or in this family we don’t settle for not knowing. We find out, and now we know.”

*Excerpt from Innovative Solutions Consulting, Management Development Workshop series

Elaine Robbins HarrisThis article was originally posted on by Elaine Robbins Harris. Elaine is the managing partner of Innovative Solutions Consulting, Management Development Programs. She instructs various professional development courses at Directions Training. If you would like to receive information about this workshop, please let us know more about your training needs:

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