The concept of “professional development” can encompass both acquiring additional education and taking extra courses, reading materials related to your work, attending conferences, and even meeting with colleagues from other companies to discuss how others operate in your field.
There is a concept called Lifelong Learning, which is best captured by the saying “live and learn.” This idea implies continuous personal development in professional, social, and spiritual spheres.
For me, the narrative around obtaining additional formal education is questionable. Often, people who come to my consultations believe that they lack just one more degree for happiness. However, when I ask them what exactly it will give them, there’s often no clear answer. This desire is sometimes rooted in impostor syndrome, fear of starting something new, or an unwillingness to act with what’s already available.
As for all other forms of professional development, I say a firm yes, provided that gaining new knowledge propels you to a higher level in your competence. Despite most people realizing the importance of development, a relatively small percentage take significant steps in that direction. Let’s explore the factors that can hinder learning in adulthood and what steps can be taken to change this situation.
🎓 Lack of time
One of the most common barriers for adults is a shortage of time. Many adults have family obligations and work schedules that make it challenging to attend educational institutions. To overcome this barrier, flexibility is crucial. Online courses, evening and weekend classes, as well as remote learning, can provide adults with the opportunity to learn without significant disruption to daily life, especially if you’re flexible and don’t wait for several consecutive hours of free time. You can listen to online courses in snippets, such as during a commute or while cooking. You can also discuss with your employer the possibility of studying partially or fully during working hours.
🎓 Financial Constraints
The cost of education can be a significant barrier for many adults. Tuition fees, textbooks, and other expenses may seem daunting at first glance. However, there are several solutions to this problem. Numerous free or inexpensive online resources offer educational materials. The key is to choose what is right for you and not attempt to complete every free course that comes your way. It’s essential to focus on the quality of the material and the credibility of the speakers. When it comes to formal education, there are scholarships, grants, and loans available to help adults access education.
Adults returning to the educational process may face the challenge of self-motivation. Balancing family and professional responsibilities can make finding motivation and discipline for studying difficult. However, it’s crucial to remember that professional development can bring many positive results, including long-term benefits. There’s no need to wait for external motivation – the desire for personal growth, new opportunities at work, and the enrichment of knowledge should ideally be sufficient motivators. If your current job does not excite you, learning in that field is likely to be uninteresting too. Something to think about…
🎓 Low Self-Esteem and Lack of Confidence
Some adults may experience low self-esteem and a lack of confidence in their learning abilities. This can hinder their desire to develop. Support and motivation from family and friends can help overcome this barrier. However, it’s more common to encounter the opposite situation when the closest circle is unsupportive and asks, “Why do you need this?” In such cases, I suggest distancing yourself from even the closest opinions, reflecting on your desires, and seeking a supportive environment.
🎓 Transportation and Geographic Constraints
For people living in remote areas or lacking access to educational institutions, transportation and geographic barriers can be significant obstacles. However, we live in the 21st century, where online education opportunities are limitless.
It’s essential to understand that each person is unique, and their circumstances may create individual barriers to learning. Remember, ongoing professional development and education throughout life are key tools for improving the quality of life, achieving professional and personal goals, and contributing to a more successful and harmonious life in the modern world.