I can still picture the sadness on their faces. It was something they had never anticipated. They never thought it could happen to any of them after they had faithfully spent years of their lives labouring for their employer. The majority held on to the same job because it was all they had. It was what they desperately needed in order to survive. I know this because I was there and I saw the expressions on their faces. Some were old men who had been with the company close to twenty years. They asked me to interpret for them.
They were considered incompetent for a job they had spent years perfecting and were being retrenched. This did not make any sense to me. How could they fail a test for a job in which they were well experienced? Forklift driving was the only skill they ever knew – nothing else. One old man with tears in his eyes begged me to speak to the management on his behalf. There was nothing I could do. I was just like them, an ordinary employee. The sadness I saw in their eyes taught me the most valuable lesson in life. This lesson amounted to seizing every available opportunity to learn and improve my skills in order to cope with a variety of tasks.
Learning never stops
People think that education has a finish line. You run around with your books and eventually come to a halt. You stop and your brain refuses to take any information and says, “No more, I am now too old for this” then you stop and wait for the day you depart from planet earth. Those who think such thoughts couldn`t be more wrong. Education has no finish line. Learning is a continuous process which never stops. The moment we stop learning, we also stop growing. The same people usually stop learning as soon as they are out of college or university and when they find employment.
The people I mentioned right at the beginning of this book fall into this category. In fact, they are even worse as they never learned anything beyond high school or after the apartheid era. They may blame the past, circumstances, or even their employers. Nevertheless, one thing is certain. If they had wanted to learn and grow, all they would need to do was take action and apply for a course or two. Through learning additional skills they would have been well equipped. Unfortunately, they chose not to go that route. They were retrenched and joined the unemployment queue. Sadly, they became unemployable. Let me ask you a simple but most important question. How far have you developed your abilities?
I recently bought and read an eBook by Brian Tracy titled The Secrets of Self-made Millionaires. He has the following action exercise which is most successful if you put it to work:
Select a subject that can help you be more productive and effective in your field. Set a goal to master this subject. Make it a ‘Do it yourself’ project, then read on this subject every day. Make the time to listen to audio programmes and attend courses and seminars on the subject. Work on this project as if your future depends on it, because it does!
The results of applying what you learn
This works and I can attest to it because that is exactly how I learn. “What proof do I have that it works?” you may be asking. Well, you are reading my book at present! John C Maxwell said, “Most people want to be writers. They talk about it but they never get started” and that hit home. I picked up a pen and started writing this very book you have in your hands.
I bought and read a number of books on blogging and creating my own blog. I followed the step by step guides, bought my blog`s domain name and hosting package, and the result was the nolimitpower.co.za. I had already taken an internet marketing course from the University of South Africa and passed with a distinction. Social media marketing email marketing, blogging, viral marketing and search engine marketing all became part of my growing bank of knowledge. All this information gave me a good head start. You see, learning is easy. You just have to apply yourself!
Do you want to end up like the men who were retrenched? If your answer is yes, then don`t follow my advice, but if you are just like me and you want to grow – then you should take every opportunity to teach yourself. One day you`ll be like Abraham Lincoln who said, “All I have learned, I learned from books”. Look at it this way, even the teachers who taught you at school learned everything they taught you from books. So, what`s stopping you?