One of my favorite expressions is “Oh, I learned something new today.” Each new discovery comes with a burst of delight, as if I were a child all over again.

Truth be told, I am using maybe 20% of what I learned in college. And 80% of what I know to lead a successful career, I picked them up on the job, as I go through life, and from others.

Now I am not saying you dump all what you learned at school. But the reality is that we have to be lifelong learners if we are to flourish in our chosen profession. Here are some principles to keep in mind:

1.      Change is the norm, not the exception.

I still remember my first cellphone. It was this bulky unit that looked more like a military walkie-talkie… complete with antennae!

Then over a span of few years, cell phones got smaller and cheaper. What used to be a status symbol for the rich is now available even to domestic helpers. Needless to say, I threw away my walkie-talkie… I mean, cellphone.

Therefore, always be aware that change is happening around us. Some are rather obvious, while others can be so subtle that they hit us before we know it. Some can be comparatively trivial, while others can be game-changers.

We may not be able to keep track of every change that is happening around us, but the first step is to live on the premise that what works today may be obsolete tomorrow.

2.      Be ready to unlearn.

A sage was once asked why there are people who resist change even if it’s for their own good. The sage replied, “Because they still believe they’re right.”

Thus, change is not merely appealing to reason or logic. One may intellectually agree that a new way is better. But because he tends to decide on what makes him feel happy, correct or secure, he would still stick to the old way.

Yet the price for not learning is usually steeper than the discomfort of unlearning. In practical terms, the penalty may be a stagnant career, wasted resources, missed opportunities, even going out of business.

Once we understand this principle, we are ready to unlearn. The promise is that it is better to go through the discomfort now and reap the benefits later, rather than staying in our comfort zones but pay a higher price of needless difficulties later.

More in the next post. Meantime, what have you discovered lately?


I promised to share three principles on how to overcome fear. The first two are defang your fear and develop action plans. In case you missed it, just check out my previous posts.

Have you ever heard this expression: “The best way to predict the future is to create it”? But when you think about it, we really cannot create the future. We really cannot control our circumstances. Not the economy, the market, the competition, the weather. It’s like Calvin in the cartoon below.

We admit to this reality when the term VUCA was popularized: volatility, uncertainty, complexity, ambiguity.

So what do you do? Here comes a quotation which I really love. “I don’t know what the future will hold. But I know who host the future.” The third principle is to depend on a Higher Power.

Some of you may say we count on fate, destiny or some moral law in the universe. For me, I’ve subscribed to the Christian faith that we have not only an omnipotent, omniscient God, but a God who cares. One of my favorite Bible passages goes: “Cast all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you.”

Yes, I may be afraid. Yes, things may get rough. Yes, I can’t control my future. But I know the God who controls the future is the same God who cares for me.

I know of a sales executive who kept on being worried sick. His organization depended on his ability to bring in the proverbial bacon. Competition is fiercer than ever. Price negotiations got brutal. And so he had sleepless nights.

One evening, he had an epiphany. He read the passage I quoted above and realized how foolish it was to carry a burden that was not meant for him to carry. He prayed, “God, I did my best. Now I’m going to sleep. No sense in both of us staying awake.”

It was his best slumber in months. Guess what? As he was more relaxed and less harassed, he was able to close new deals.

The opposite of fear is not courage. It is faith. Faith in a good God who showed His love for us at the Cross. And if He went that far to show His care for us, why won’t He care for us day after day?

As we put ourselves in the hands of the Great Shepherd, the safest place in all the universe, we can avow with the psalmist, “I will fear no evil.”

#fear #anxiety #courage #coaching #careercoaching #careertips


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