This article was written by Rochelle Moulton, a personal branding strategist, on behalf of the Happy Grad Project. You’ve read your last textbook, finished your final exam, and nabbed that closing grade. You are SO ready to sprint off into your new life and celebrate your launch into “official” adulthood. So, learning MORE may not be on your immediate radar. Related: Learning Doesn’t Stop Once You Have The Job But here’s the thing: Learning for the sheer joy of it is the trick to a happy life and satisfying career. Think about it. When you remove the external trappings—exams and grades and test scores—the world becomes your classroom and everyone your teacher. You can learn as much (or, unfortunately, as little) as you choose. You can become an expert—because you literally can’t wait to know everything there is to know about that one thing that completely enthralls you. Music. Rocket Science. Lizards. Philanthropy. Or you can be more of a bumblebee, flitting from flower to flower, soaking up the nectar from each and moving on. Don’t judge this—indulge it. Your learning will pay off in ways you just can’t see when you’re in the midst of it. Learning for learning’s sake is powerful. Joyful. Even spiritual. It isn’t about money, although it may very well wind up being how you make yours. It’s about living a rich and happy life that has meaning to YOU. A great way to get started? Travel. Get out of the town, state, province, country you grew up in and go explore. Soak up cultural differences and understand how the world works. Meet people who are different from you and get to know them. Grab a table at an outdoor café and soak up the atmosphere. Revel in where you are and what’s right in front of you, right now. You’ll find that curiosity transforms relationships. Learning about someone for the sheer joy of it is intoxicating to both you and the recipient. Who doesn’t love being an object of wonder? Friendships deepen when you are paying attention—and smoldering passions can ignite. It’s not even restricted to the here-and-now. Researching your family lineage might produce a kindred spirit amongst your ancestors (and here you thought you were the only black sheep in the family). And yes, learning pays dividends in your career. You will quickly find that the most stimulating work environments encourage you to flex your curiosity muscles. That the best leaders are the ones who challenge you to think further and deeper than you thought possible. That the bosses who make you grumble on your way out the door may well be the ones you bless later for the insights you worked like hell for. Your most unforgettable projects and team experiences may well be alongside those whose curiosity matches (or better yet, exceeds) your own. What wondrous things can a few creative minds concoct when free to explore new territory? If you have children, that sheer joy will come in handy (along with a hefty dose of patience). Watching your child take their first steps, speak their first word and read their first book will remind you—just in case you’d forgotten along the way—that the joy is in the learning. Yes, the joy is in the journey. In savoring each and every drop that life dangles in front of you. Even when it’s hard. Sometimes (most often only in retrospect) especially when it’s hard. So, venture forth with your newly-minted degree and bring your love of learning along for the ride. We need your curiosity, your hunger and your bold new ideas. We need you.
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Let’s just get this out of the way right now: the working world is heavily skewed to the extroverts. Related: Those who master the art of relationships (and generate their energy from interacting with people) are far more likely to move up the ladder in traditional corporate life than those who do their best work solo. Does this mean if you’re an introvert you’re doomed to a life of quiet desperation or of being an unappreciated cog in a very big machine? Quite the opposite. Many introverts succeed because of their ability to apply inward-facing strengths in a way that is easy to understand for everyone. You may well succeed outrageously in a way your extraverted colleagues can only dream of. History is littered with brilliant introverts who used their innate powers of focus and concentration (which often come hard to classic extraverts) to produce game-changing creative, strategic and technological breakthroughs. Think Bill Gates, JK Rowling, Gandhi, Einstein, Eleanor Roosevelt, classic introverts all. They sold themselves and their ideas—quietly—to profound success. And so can you, provided you simply commit to two concepts: content and platform.
<h3>Content</h3> Killer content must be your calling card. There is no room for mediocre or surface-scratching copy. Devote yourself to the deep research no one else is willing to do. Write multiple drafts until you’re certain you’ve created something original and compelling. Analyze and test your hypotheses. Obsess about the broader implications of your work, looking for nuances that less committed souls would miss. Do the heavy lifting that those without your passion and focus are unable to do. What's the good news about all of these new requirements? This often comes as naturally as breathing to introverts: you were born to do deeply involved work. <h3>Platform</h3> Killer content by itself is rarely enough. To share and spread your ideas and build your community, you need the right platform. Hiding in the shadows won’t do it. You must put yourself smack dab in the limelight. But fear not. You’ll do it only when it matters most and in the forms that best suit you and your message. Think of it as being a <em>situational extrovert</em>. You choose how—and when—you’re willing to take center stage. Because even in the limelight, you sell <i>quietly.</i> Not with hype or sensationalism, but with your expertise, With a deep understanding of your work, with passion for your subject. You might swallow hard and agree to a speaking engagement or presentation to an influential audience. Rise to the challenge and work through your fears because you know it’s worth it to spread your work. Or maybe you reach out to a handful of key influencers in your field to share your research, your art and your ideas. While it takes courage to make the first move, the intimacy of one-on-one suits your personality and style. Perhaps you’ll decide to tackle the media and convince key outlets to publish your work because you know that until your ideas get aired, they don’t have the power to change the world. Choosing even a limited soapbox—your platform—that suits your strengths and your message can light up your career. <em>This post was originally published on an earlier date.</em> <h3>Related Posts</h3> <a href="http://www.workitdaily.com/introvert-work-signs/">7 Signs You're Viewed As An Introvert At Work</a> <a href="http://www.workitdaily.com/networking-stigma/">6 Ways To Beat The Ugly Networking Stigma</a> <a href="http://www.workitdaily.com/promotion-position-yourself/">Position Yourself For A Promotion</a> <span class="credit">Photo Credit: <a href="http://www.shutterstock.com/">Shutterstock</a></span></div>
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