Many of the World's Most Successful People Do This 5 Hours a Week

September 23, 2016

There are a few things that Mark Cuban, Mark Zuckerberg, Oprah Winfrey, Warren Buffett and Bill Gates have in common. They include:

  • They all are among the most successful people in their fields.
  • They all are busier than you.

And yet, there’s something else they share – they each dedicate at least five hours a week to actively learning. As in, not that they “learn on the job”, but instead time they set aside time each week focusing solely on learning new skills.

Wait, people really do this?

Michael Simmons, founder of Empact, an organization dedicated to discovering how people can maximize their potential, has studied the lives of hundreds of highly successful people. Along with modern day giants like Buffett, Home Depot co-founder Arthur Blank and Gates, he also studied the lives of historical greats like Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Edison.

What Simmons found was that these people are committed to a lifetime of learning. And not just learning through experience, but also setting aside at least five hours each week to learn new skills.

So what sort of learning do these people do?

Although Simmons consistently saw this trend of highly successful people dedicating significant time to learning, the way they learned varied depending on what served them best. Some of the more common techniques included:

  • Reading

And not just reading for pleasure, but reading to learn new skills. Specifically, Oprah Winfrey, Cuban and Nike founder Phil Knight are all avid readers, and reading is their preferred way to learn.

  • Experimenting

Franklin and Edison were both classic kinesthetic learners who learned by doing. Both of them would spend hours methodically doing experiments and testing out new ideas to learn new skills and solve new problems.

Others listen to podcasts, take classes or talk to experts in the field. Many do some combination of all of the above.

The point? There are a million ways to learn. The important part is just that you do it.

So, do you spend time learning?

It isn’t as if most people are actively opposed to learning. Instead, many people feel that they don’t have the time to learn.

Today though, there’s a plethora of evidence out there that learning new skills is essential to surviving a job market that is as fluid as ever. And yet, if you never spend time learning, you’ll never gain the skills you need to truly elevate your career.

So, you have two options – avoid learning, and hope your career continues to advance at its current pace. Or, do as so many other successful people have done and spend real time learning, and see your career exponentially take off.

*Image by Brian Solis, Flickr

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