My daughter had one of those “Why do I have to learn this stuff?” episodes on the way home from school recently.
Using, without a hint of irony, some of the math skills she's learned on the way to fourth grade, she said, “I can't believe I have to go to school for 12 more years!”
Partly because parents are required to say stuff like this but mostly because I believe it, I said, “If you do it right, sweetheart, you'll be learning new stuff for the rest of your life.”
That's what I love about CPAs — you get to learn for a living. Most of us struggle to carve out time to learn new stuff, but your designation — your very careers — depend on it.
How cool is that?
And yet I still hear instructors complain about folks who come to their CPE programs and hide behind newspapers or laptops for two or four or eight hours. “I don't really want to learn anything,” these “students” are implying. “Just give me my hours.”
Really? In a life this short, you're going to blow this opportunity to learn something new?
Given the rate of change and complexity these days, you could throw a digital dart at our online catalog and find a relevant technical topic you need to learn. Or ditch the technical stuff and brush up on some “success skills” — leadership, sustainability, social media, change management, personal growth. There's plenty of that to be found through the Business Learning Institute.
Or forget about CPE for a while and learn something really radical — like computer programming, or web development, or pretty much anything that MIT has to offer. Even places like iTunes U, TED and the Khan Academy offer fantastic education opportunities — and they're all free.
Here's a great list of some other free educational opportunities floating around out there.
Look, I don't care what you do. Play guitar. Cook. Needlepoint. Map your family tree. Rewire your house. Create a blog and start writing for it every day. (Imagine that.)
Just learn something. Then learn something else. Then share it. Don't forget about that part — share what you've learned with others. Help other people learn. (Social media is a great way of doing that, by the way.)
The point is this: Always be learning. Most everything else is a waste of our all-too-short lives.