Karl Hughes

Karl Hughes

The Key to Success: Never Stop Learning

The Key to Success: Never Stop Learning

Back in July, 2012 when I wrote this article, I was barely a PHP novice and just starting to try Ruby on Rails. It’s fun to look back at how little I knew just five years ago and realize that everything I’ve learned since then has propelled me to where I am now.

I love learning, and I love pushing myself outside of my comfort zone. I try to do it in all aspects of my life from fitness to work to music and movies. While I know this can be hard for some people, every time you do push yourself a bit, the next push gets easier, so go out there and start learning today!

Tonight, I decided to finally get outside of my bubble, and start learning a new programming language, Ruby. My web development experience began back in December 2010 when I first got acquainted with Wordpress, a PHP based content management system. At that point, I was very familiar with HTML and CSS, and had worked a little bit with Javascript, but knew nothing about server-side scripting languages.

As I’ve probably lost my non-techie readers by now, I’ll stop boring you and get to the point: You must never stop learning.

No matter your profession, field of study, or role in your company, continued learning is one of the many keys to success. This is true in technical fields like mine, but also just as true in management, the arts, and legal professions. The moment you turn your mind off and think that you know it all is the moment your personal and professional growth will stop.

Let’s not limit this to business

Sure, you have to keep an open mind in your profession, but the same principle applies to personal relationships. We all have preconceived notions about people, politics, religion, entertainment, and recreation, but truly successful people always keep their minds open to change. There are, of course, hundreds of examples of great people who have changed their views or learned new skills later in life. Today, I will focus on just one: Alton Brown.

A journey to fitness

If you’re a fan of the Food Network, you’re probably familiar with Alton Brown. He hosts the shows “Good Eats” and “Iron Chef America,” as well as being involved in several other shows on the network. Alton’s primary show, “Good Eats,” is about the science and health that works behind the scenes in food, but as Alton admits, he was a “poor science student” growing up, and more than that, he was overweight.

Well, Alton wanted to produce a great cooking show, but he knew that he had to learn a few new tricks to do it right. He went back to culinary school, lost 50 lbs., and created one of the most interesting TV shows on the network today. Did Alton reach a point in his life where he was satisfied to quit learning? Not at all. He went from being a well known producer of music videos (he did REM’s “The One I Love”) to one of Food Network’s biggest and sharpest personalities.

I can’t talk about anything or write about anything if I don’t understand it. So a lot of the stuff that I go through and a lot of the time that I spend is understanding. - Alton Brown

My final encouragement to you is to just keep learning. No matter how old, how bored, or how “stuck” you are, learning is one of the many keys to a successful and fulfilled life.

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