Learning is growing, and not just because Sesame Street told us so. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that to be successful human beings on this here planet we need to be constantly looking for ways that we can expand our mind and learn new things. Sometimes, though, folks claim they would love to learn something, if someone could just tell them where to learn it.

Here are my top five ways for learning things. All factory-approved.

Read a Book

If you’ve been around this blog for awhile, you know I’m obsessed with reading. (I read 200 books a year, which qualifies me to make this statement. If you’re interested, here’s a detailed post on how I do it.) Reading is the number one way that I learn something new, from someone I want to learn from.

Ask Someone to Be Your Mentor

This is a tough one, but one worth mentioning because it can work. (But doesn’t always.) Asking someone to be your mentor is a great way to potentially develop a great connection with someone who can teach you great things. See my tips on finding a mentor here.

Go to a Conference

Learning a skill or understanding an idea or an industry can happen with great positive results in a conference environment, and I have attended many successful conferences that have taught me immensely. That said, when attending a conference, you need a plan. Here’s how to create a good plan that will ensure you have a great experience.

Take an Online Course

Think of an online course as a conference, without the benefit of networking and social time, but also without the hassle and expense of travel. There are tons of great courses out there you can take, and tons I have taken in the past. A good way to find them is to simply follow blogs you like, and watch for ones they either host or recommend. For example, in the past here I’ve mentioned my own online Twitter course, as well as my friend Jeff’s online writing course. Both have been enjoyed by many of my blog readers.

Take a Real Life Course

Taking a real life class is like taking an online class, but you can touch people. It’s also like a conference, but it goes on for much longer and is more targeted to a particular theme. French, say. Or hula dancing. (Both real life courses I have taken in my life.) I love real life courses, and I know they’ll add to your repertoire of ways to learn.

The key with all these methods is to mix and mingle with them all. A life of real life courses would have you running around town all week. And yet life of online courses would prevent you from making in-person connections. To win, you need to find a balance of the type of learning that works for you, and a blend of different learning types and environments.

Which of these ways to learn works best for you?

Intentional work is the key to great innovation.

The Work by Design Summit is a FREE online conference to teach you the power of purposeful productivity.

Join 20,000 other attendees to:

  • Clarify your innovative purpose
  • Double your productivity
  • Explode your profits
Watch 50+ word-class innovators share their best tools and strategies.
The Social Brand

The Power of Digital Innovation

How to Use Twitter

Technology for Good