Everyday Opportunities for Lifelong Learning

Everyday Opportunities for Lifelong Learning

“I will prepare and some day my chance will come.” – Abraham Lincoln

February 12 marked what would have been the 206th birthday of Abraham Lincoln. While his legacy is defined as the President who saved the Union and freed the slaves, what was it in the man himself that enabled him to achieve what, at the time, was a seemingly impossible task?

There are countless books and articles written about Abraham Lincoln. He has been studied for his political acumen, his leadership, his military strategy and his humanity. He is hailed by most as a great American President and by many, as the greatest American President.

Abraham Lincoln practiced law without having a law degree, in fact, he had only 18 months of formal schooling. Lincoln was born to illiterate farmers; Lincoln held a patent for a device he invented to free steamboats that had run aground; Lincoln advocated for a woman’s right to vote in 1836, (the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote was signed on August 18, 1920); Lincoln served one term in the House of Representatives, ran for the Senate twice and lost and also failed at his first business.

How is it that a man born to very limited means and little formal education not only rose to the Presidency of the United States, but is also revered as one of the greatest men to have held the office?

Think the answers lie in the quotes that started this train of thought:

“I will prepare and some day my chance will come.” – Abraham Lincoln

“If I had six hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend the first four hours sharpening the axe.” – Abraham Lincoln

Lincoln could be thought of as one of the founders of the concept of lifelong learning. Lifelong learning can be broadly defined as both formal and informal learning opportunities that cultivates knowledge and skills for personal or professional growth.

Yes, you are busy. You have more work to do than hours in the day, and that’s just at work. As you go about your day, look for and embrace those opportunities, both formal and informal, that present an opening for learning and growth. Your life is part of your training ground and opening yourself up to view it as such, is a huge step in attaining the knowledge you need to progress in your life and your career.

Mark Shamley
President & CEO, ACCP