Originally published on Medium by Aggee on July 26, 2020

Da Vinci.

No one defines what it means to be ‘ahead of their time’ better than Leonardo da Vinci does.

The man was a master of invention, one who contributed to everything from geometry and architecture to music and anatomy. In the words of National Geographic Journalist Simon Worrall:

“Leonardo fused science and art to create works that have become part of humanity’s story.”

Da Vinci was, in short, an extraordinary and talented thinker. What made him stand out from the crowd, however, was his intense curiosity. The essence of his curiosity is summed up in his famous quote:

“Learning never exhausts the mind.”

To this day, the legacy of da Vinci still survives. And the habit of curiosity that he practiced in his life is very much still valuable today.

In fact, curiosity is one of if not the most valuable skill in the 21st century. Let me explain.

The power of curiosity in the 21st century

Welive in an ever-evolving world. New job roles are constantly being invented. The digital era is on the horizon, and the rapid pace of technology is introducing so many careers. Twenty years ago, there were no IOS app developers. No Amazon drone pilots. No SEO specialists. No user experience designer.

Who knows which careers may be invented another twenty years down the line? According to a panel of experts assembled by the Institute for the Future, up to 85 percent of the jobs that today’s college students will have in 11 years haven’t been invented yet.”

To thrive in this evolving, uncertain and complex world, it’s not enough to rely only on the skill sets you already have. In the 21st Century, your propensity to learn more is what matters.

Your propensity to think outside the box, to ask questions, to experiment and to reinvent, is what matters.

I’ll give an example of how prioritizing continuous learning can help in a practical sense:

Imagine, for a moment, that you are the managing director of a CNC manufacturing firm. You’re in the business of manufacturing gearboxes and engine parts for your clients. Your CNC manufacturing business is not the only one in town, though. You have three local competitors, and you’re all targeting the same customer base.

Now let’s further imagine that your marketing strategy is unpolished. For the last 20 years, you’ve been relying on cold calls, directory listings and newspaper advertising to market your business.

What are your options?

You could stick to your old marketing strategy, and hope that luck is on your side and that clients flock to you.

Or, you could adapt and reinvent your marketing strategy, and find inventive ways to reach out to more clients.

You could use free online resources like Google Certificates to learn about the basics of digital marketing.

You could hire a local marketing agency, to help you create a greater online presence.

You could redesign your website for better user experience.

You could learn about how SEO can help you improve your ranking in Google
search engines.

In this scenario, a propensity to learn and adapt could help you stay ahead of your competitors, and reach a larger client base. There are many other ways that an attitude of continuous learning can benefit you.

So the question is, what can we do to harness the power of curiosity.

Learn like it’s your job

We live in a time where it’s never been easier to learn. The Internet itself is the most expansive learning tool in history.

From TEDTalks to Skillshare, there are a plethora of online resources you can use to acquire fresh concepts, insights and perspectives.

By always being in a position to learn, you open up the doors to continuous improvement. You push yourself to always enhance, improve and challenge the status quo.

Continuous improvement can help anyone achieve optimal results —
whether you are a managing director, a blogger or an entrepreneur.

Search for new connections

Shift away from the comfort of familiarity and towards the ever-evolving world of inventions.

You may discover new trends in your sector.

You may find new ways of solving old problems.

You may be able to bridge the gap between your current way of working and new ways.

Searching for new connections can help you stay sharp and ready for valuable opportunities.

Look for answers in unexpected places

Listening to other people’s viewpoints can help provide you with unique perspectives.

Start a conversation with anyone who can offer you constructive feedback. Chat with analysts, professors, executives, engineers, accountants.

By forming discussions with others, you can discover fresh thoughts
that help you think in a more thoughtful and effective way.

So to thrive in the 21st century:
Learn like it’s your job, search for new connections and look for answers in unexpected places.

Future Ready Academy is dedicated to inculcate all the skills required for a better future.

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