I know that a topic like this may seem like a gross overstatement of something everyone already knows and does. However, I've observed that those who quit learning are seldom all that aware of the change in input from outside intellectual resources.
I remember a co-worker years ago who had vision troubles that made it more difficult to read books. But rather than get large print versions or audio versions, he just stopped reading. Since he was an educator, he simply relied on his old materials from years before and brought them back out to use over again. I observed him in action, and though his communication style was fine, his material seemed dated, and lacked sparkle somehow. I got the impression that what he was presenting was something he had thought about years before, but was now just regurgitating to get the job at hand over with. The lesson I learned from observing this man's work was that fresh input is imperative for the production of quality, meaningful output.
Therefore, I make a practice of doing certain things to keep the inflow of information fresh and germane to what I teach others. These are suggestions I attempt to apply to myself and advise others to consider as well:
- Read at least two or more books per month. (I use BookBub.com to download electronic books to my e-reader at discounted prices.)
- Ask answers to questions floating around in your head. Don't just let them hang out unanswered. (Google is great for that kind of thing!)
- Seek quality input from others. (What you don't know is not unknowable. Ask advice from a trusted friend.)
- You're never too old to try something new! (At 65 years old, I'm a "newby" with several recreational pursuits.)
- There might even be a new way to do something you've done before. An old task becomes less automatic and boring when attempted with a new approach or viewed from a new angle.
- Meet somebody new. John Maxwell wrote that five years from now you'll be just the same as you are now except for the books you read and the people you meet. (This may be your best friend you just haven't met yet.)
- Try out a new path. The roadway never taken before can produce a fresh new adventure for you if you're not too timid to give it a try.
- Invite input from God. The One who knows infinitely more than you'll ever know has invited you to receive wisdom from Him firsthand if you'll just ask Him for it, (James 1:5.)