Making Sense of Work with Jean Balfour

Ep. #7. Life Long Learning with Andrew Calvert

March 17, 2022 Jean Balfour Season 1 Episode 7
Making Sense of Work with Jean Balfour
Ep. #7. Life Long Learning with Andrew Calvert
Show Notes Transcript

In a world of increasing specialization, Andrew has consciously sought a broad base of experiences - from organic farming and Shiatsu massage in the UK to printing money in the USA and developing sales service and leadership skills in clients, colleagues and himself.

Singapore based for the past 18 years, he is currently an executive facilitator and master coach with a human capital constancy and in private practice as coach to young and emerging leaders.

 A lover of learning and science fiction, Andrew is a connector of dots and frequent blogger on leadership, self awareness and self care.

In the podcast Jean and Andrew discuss

  • What is lifelong learning?
  • Why does it matter to engage in lifelong learning? 
  • The research behind why it matters
  • How to do it?

You can find Andrew here:

http://www.andrewjcalvert.com 

https://www.linkedin.com/in/andrewcalvert/

Happy Mind, Happy Life Podcast

https://drchatterjee.com/11-powerful-tips-to-help-you-live-longer-and-better/

Write a letter to the future

https://www.futureme.org/

You can find Jean here

https://baileybalfour.com/
https://www.linkedin.com/in/jeanbalfour/

Jean:

Hello, and welcome to this episode of making sense of work. Today I'm really happy to welcome the wonderful Andrew Culvert to join me on the podcast. Hi, Andrew. And welcome.

Andrew:

Hi Jean. Thank you for having me.

Jean:

Let me tell you a bit about Andrew. In a world of increasing specialization Andrew has consciously sought a broad base of experiences, and these are pretty broad from organic farming and shiatsu massage in the UK. To printing money in the USA. And we'll want to hear more about that later I suspect, to developing a sales service and leadership skills and clients, colleagues, and himself. Based in Singapore for the past 18 years, he's currently an executive facilitator and master coach with a human capital consultancy and in private practice, he is a coach to young and emerging leaders. As a lover of learning and science-fiction Andrew is a connector of dots and a frequent blogger on leadership self-awareness and self care. And you can find his blog via his LinkedIn profile, which will be in the show notes. So welcome Andrew to our conversation today.

Andrew:

Thanks Jean really excited.

Jean:

Me too. So we always kick off with this question. How's work at the moment.

Andrew:

Well, you know, I listened to a couple of the podcasts and what I realized was my answer is as a paradox, because work is exciting and boring. It's exciting because there's so much going on. Every, every assumption that we've ever made about where we work, how we work, who we work with, what we do, how we do it, how we collaborate, how we learn, all of those assumptions are up for re-imaginination. It's boring because I see a lot of organizations using the same techniques, the same ideas, the same methodologies to do their work. So it's just kind of that continuum.

Jean:

There's, that's a tension isn't there between this felt sense that something needs to change and we have to change. We have to move it. And the kind of sense of, but we've done things this way for so long and we're stuck in that, in that place. I think I love that.

Andrew:

I love that phrase, this, this such a tension, because not only is there a tension in organizations, but I see it inside myself. You know, I know that in a transformation. You don't know where you're headed to. It's an iteration of different states, but I get frustrated that leadership can't tell me this is what's happening next. I want the certainty. Yep. Intellectually. I know that certainly doesn't exist, but so that's the tension that I'm feeling myself.

Jean:

Yeah. So we're living proof of all of that happening in a way. Yeah. I really feel that too. When you have a really good day at work, what's what makes it good?

Andrew:

You know, uh, a really good day can take a variety of forms. Obviously in and facilitation, it's where I've had an audience that hasn't just been engaged has asked the difficult questions that haven't just said, what does this mean? Well, if so, what does this mean? And how do I, how do I apply it in X, Y and Z situation? So you can tell they're really thinking about and putting themselves in the position with the skill and using that lens to evaluate a potential situation, because ultimately what I'm working with is helping people change behaviors. So when they begin to think about how they're going to do that, that gets really exciting. Um, it's also when I ask the question. And as a coach, you must have seen this too, either as a facilitator or a coach, I'll ask you a question. And the person you've asked, that's a thousand yard stare and they've gone somewhere. And whether that moment lasts a second or 10 seconds, there's some really deep reflection or introspection going on. And I love that because that means we've, we've made the connection. And now they're thinking deeply that's. So if I can get that once in a day, that's been a really good day. Do it twice off the charts.

Jean:

Yeah. And can you say a bit more about the nature of your day, your type of work that you're doing?

Andrew:

So mostly it's about it's about developing leadership capabilities in individual contributor. Team leaders, first-line managers and then the managers of managers. Um, and what's been really interesting. So I've been doing this more than the 18 years I've been in Singapore, but primarily the last 18 years, what's been really interesting, Jean, is that the skills that I'm teaching have always been called soft skills. But now people will begin to realize how hard they are to learn and how big of an impact they have. So there's that, again, that tension, we keep thinking that these are soft skills that kind of warm and fuzzy, but they make a big difference in the lives, the heads, hearts, and minds of the people that we provide them to. So most of the time it's about sharing a, an idea, talking about people's challenges. How does this situation present to you? What do you do now? What ideas could you do moving forward? What ideas you have about what you could do differently, introducing a model, and then taking that, that model through the lens of that direct experience and how can they practice that? And that's a delight for a manager who struck with a reluctant employee. For a leader who's struggling to unlock the capability of high potentials who are not yet high performance, somebody who just wants to have a better time. At work. And as you, as we unpack this. Um, and, uh, emotional intelligence, psychological safety, conflict resolution, um, strategic thinking, all of those subjects link back to helping people be more satisfied with what they do at work and how they interact with the people around them. And. As we talk about how much time we spend at work, which has increased because we're all working from home. So there's no commute to book end of the day. Um, as people are spending more and more time at work, it's even more important that we get that intrinsic satisfaction. So a good day is when I can see what I'm doing, helping the intrinsic satisfaction.

Jean:

Yeah, I think, um, one of the things that I'm hearing you say, I mean, I certainly agree. You know, I think also working in developing soft skills, whatever that is. And I've argued for years that these are not the soft skills, they're the hard skills and they're the critical skills. And I do think we've moved into a world where that's seen as really important, and I make a connection to some of what you're saying, because. Also hold that what we do and who we are, are really interconnected. And unless we can help leaders make the connection between who I am and how I lead, you know, who I am, the skills I bring, the, uh, emotional intelligence. I have the kind of sense of knowledge of myself. And how that impacts the people I'm leading. Then it actually is hard for leaders to be as effective as they can. And, and I, I'm always curious about this interface between who I am and how I lead and how we help leaders to understand that more.

Andrew:

Absolutely.

Jean:

Okay. But we do need to know about printing money.

Andrew:

Well, um, I worked for a financial printer, so financial printers. Don't do very much printing. They do a lot of document management. So we printed IPO's prospectuses. Um, the annual reports, but we also printed, um, live bearer bonds and bank notes for a number of smaller nations around the world. So a security printer by another name. Um, what that did mean? That was one day I ended up with 24 million pounds of live bearer bonds in my apartment by accident. Um, How to deliver them to the right place. But yes, that kind of thing still happens.

Jean:

Uh, well, it's certainly a good thing to have on your CV. It would be nice sometimes to be able to print money.

Andrew:

Certainly would have said he was a great job, super fun, because it's all really high pressure. So there's a great adrenaline. Then the end of it is about managing people, managing expectations, making sure that just about 30 things were done in the right place at the right time, but consistently well, um, so it was really good and a great line at a party. What are you do I print money?

Jean:

So what's an area of working life or organizational life that you're really curious about or trying to make sense.

Andrew:

You know, as, as, as I, as I reflected on that question, there's, there's a few things that the kind of the big, the, the, the headline is lifelong learning. And, you know, as, as I thought about lifelong learning, I thought, well, what is it? What does it look like? How do you do it? What are the barriers? What gets in the way, what are the benefits when you, you do a well, and that's really led to, um, an evaluation of. How do you decide what you're going to continue to learn? So lifelong learning, as I looked at a, um, a definition online, a form of self-initiated education, that's focused on personal development. So as I began to tease those elements of parts of self-initiated, yeah, I want to do it. It's not just what the company wants then personal development. And that led me onto a reflection about working on yourself. What does working on yourself mean? What does personal development mean? Cause there's so many different ways to take just those two words. Right. Um, but in terms of lifelong learning, I really took it to mean personal interest. And then how do I find the intersection of personal interests and what I currently do? And that's often where we find the, the conflation of meaning and purpose and what you do for a living. So that's that kind of played that. Um, so lifelong learning as a headline, as I've said, kind of got me to reflect on just who drives it and why it's important. And then that's just taken me down so many rabbit holes. In fact, my biggest problem, Jean is which things am I going to study first? Why am I going to study them? What benefit do I see? I do. They actually have to have. Uh, career benefit. Cause if it's personal development. So then again, that guy, and I'm thinking this stuff out loud as we speak. Um, my brain is firing on quite a lot of synapsis is right now, but the, um, the idea of. As I've began to get into lifelong learning. I found myself more motivated to learn. Uh, I know that you're going to ask me about, uh, am I reading any books or listening to any podcasts later? I'm reading six books at the moment, not back-to-back-to-back, but a few pages of each every day and watching how those insights from each book intertwine and strike chords or not, that's helping with the learning and then pausing to reflect. That's helping with the learning. So at the moment I'm engaged in a lot of experiments. I don't know which ones are going to pan out and which ones are going to. Not which ones will bear fruit in which won't, but at the moment I'm having fun, just observing what's working or what's getting what results, maybe putting a value judgment on it. Does that make sense?

Jean:

Yeah, it does. I mean, I think there's something about us playing with learning. It's almost how you're describing it, that, that we can take it very seriously and feel like. Lifelong learning and feel like, well, I need to go on an endeavor and do these 20 courses and do the stuff. But actually that may in itself, not help us grow or learn because we might get bored or something might happen along the way. I think, I think it is something about play and trying things and testing that is, that makes it both rewarding and probably beneficial

Andrew:

I also think that lifelong learning has a habit of sneaking up on you when you're not looking. And what you're doing is teaching you great lessons. So it's almost a mindset as well. So I had an organic farm when I was in my early twenties and I didn't set out to have an organic farm. It was something that circumstances presented themselves. So then I went out and I learned, I couldn't even garden. So went out and I, I rented this piece of land for a pitiful small amount of money. Went to the local library. That's how old I am. You had to go to the library to do this and got a whole bunch of books on agriculture, organic agriculture, um, agriculture, and then figure. What were the different experiments that I could run and then played with them. And each, each experiment gave yield, no pun intended to a set of insights that allow me to move on to the next set of experiments. And then I only lasted about three years, but in that time I learned so much about myself. In school. I'd been told, I was lazy, The teachers would say, Andrew you're intelligent, but you don't apply yourself. And yet, when I had the farm, I found myself going out at five o'clock in the morning, in the summer, or going out in a rain storm. Cause that was the day I needed to plant the certain crop. Um, and I realized I'm not lazy. I need a different kind of motivation to access lifelong learning. So it's motivated to self-interest to have that reflection, to learn about yourself. And now when somebody brings me a project or an idea, I'm almost listening to myself saying, is this something that's gonna float your boat? Is this something that's going to make you go, Ooh, or is this me? And that helps me decide, certainly in terms of career, whether I do or don't lean into something. That might not be the benefit to me.

Jean:

Um, because the benefit is, is about that personal growth and mastery often. Isn't it. It's just about whether we're doing a good job. It's also that sense of learning and, um, and stimulation. Yeah,

Andrew:

it is. It is. And that realization, um, is, is quite a deep one because once you realize I can do this well, but I don't like to do it. That's really liberating because now you can, what do I want to do? What I'm good at, but don't like to do for a short amount of time or a medium amount of time because that's deferred gratification for the future, but it gives you a much fuller tool set to play with to decide what it is you do want to do.

Jean:

Um, I, I think this is a really important point because just because we're good at something. Doesn't mean we have to carry on doing it. And, um, I certainly had a couple of points in my career where I made choices to step away from things that I was doing a good job at. And people said to me, but you're good at this. Why, why would you not do it? And I was like, what? I've finished doing it. I've done enough of it. And I'm no longer enjoying it. And I don't feel like I'm stretching and growing in it. And it served its purpose. Its run its day. Um, and I, I think, especially because of. For most of us, we're going to work, you know, past what might be a normal retirement age. It's really important that we find ways to keep that alive. Keep the spark alive of excitement and moving beyond what's familiar and comfortable.

Andrew:

Well, just as you were speaking there, something, something struck me Jean. So you often hear about, um, about relationships that somebody comes into your life for a reason, a season or a life. To teach you a lesson or a particular point in your life or there that all the time. And I sometimes wonder that skills and roles jobs come in for a reason to season a lifetime, lifelong learning. I think that that has in its title that's for everything, but when you're good at something, is that because you need to learn the lesson and move on, or is it because, you know, being good at sales and earning a lot of money is a wonderful thing. But when you are. Uh, when you've got a new family and you want to, you want to provide a house and nice things, then maybe that's a good time, but at a certain point you don't need to have the same kind of income, the same kind of pressure. Then you can step back and do something different. So just made me think of it.

Jean:

Yeah, it also, that kind of kicks me off into thinking, um, about the way we also create our sense of self. You know, we describe ourselves as I am. We often identify with that role. And by doing that, I think sometimes we can constrain ourselves to one view of self and yet over a lifetime, there'll be many versions and reiterations of ourselves as we change and we grow and we learn and new things happen to us and we choose different pathways. And so on. We can change. We can be different. And that's part of the lifelong, learning journey. One of the, one

Andrew:

of the tools are just discovered this only a few weeks ago, I found a website where you can log in and you can put in your name, your email address, a date that you want, the email delivered and your email and hit send five steps, and you can send a message to your future. And I there's an additional step that you can say, whether you want the message to be private anonymized out of private or anonymized in public, so you can read the public messages, but what a fascinating idea are you, are you about, are you going to go into college, maybe write a letter to your future self. So as you talk about these different versions of yourself, sending a message to your future self, to remind you what the previous version. Um, version 1.0 was thinking, I love that idea. So I've a series have already been sent to myself.

Jean:

Great. We can have the link for the show notes. That would also be really good.

Andrew:

I'll be happy to send it yet having to send it. Um,

Jean:

Perhaps I'll share a little bit about some of the, the research that I've heard recently about lifelong learning and actually how important it is for out, um, cognitive development. I was listening last week to, um, Dr. Chatterjee on his podcast feel better live more. And he was talking with a series of people about longevity, and I was most curious actually about the cognitive piece. So his guest was describing how, when we're young, everything we learn requires our brain to really far on all cylinders. So just walking, for example, learning to walk far as our brain. Um, but as we get older, We've learned to do more and more things. And so it becomes habit within the brain. It becomes embedded. And so our brains are not needing to stretch or grow or develop. And so they can begin to deteriorate, not because that's the path of what should happen, but because we stopped stretching them, basically because we stop testing and growing and trying new things. And it really provoked me because I was thinking about some of the things that are. I'm no good at and perhaps, um, needs to do in order to stretch my brain, actually to keep it cognitively alive. So for me, that would be that I consider myself somebody, you know, good at learning languages. And it may be that it's time for me to finally get down and learn Spanish, even though it's hard. And in fact, the cause it's hard because, because it's hard, it will get my brain firing in a different way. And that that's actually good for our longevity. Um, so just this incredibly important thing that we need to keep learning things that are hard. And once they're easy, we need to pull something else in. That's hard because that will then become easy. And we need to keep doing that to keep ourselves alive and to keep ourselves fresh.

Andrew:

And taking this back to making sense of work. As I think. The projects or the jobs that have challenged me the most of my career, those have been the ones where I've had the greatest amount of learning the gravy, not necessarily the greatest amount of satisfaction. Cause sometimes they were really difficult and I didn't get the result I wanted, but in retrospect, I got so much out of the unsuccessful as managing director or the inability to get that online MBA, whatever it was. But the lessons that come from that are really powerful.

Jean:

That's so important. The learning doesn't have to end in a success point. Those it can end in failure. And be probably more valuable actually, or in a place that we didn't intend it to go.

Andrew:

Well, I don't, I'm just, I'm just thinking about, uh, you know, the, the, the, the sports teams that make it for the final and lose, and then come back to win the next three championships or the individual that has that, that, that heart wrenching miss of, uh, an olympic medal comes back and wins three of the next Olympics. They can almost use that setback to propel them forwards, but that's a, that's an element of resilience, which is another element of lifelong learning. What is it that makes you energetic? What is it that demotivates you? How do you curate your environment to avoid that things as much as possible that sap your energy so that you can stay resilient? A fascinating topic to go down as well.

Jean:

It's a whole world of resilience about how we do that. I have a lovely story about my grandfather who actually kind of embodies that and lifelong learning. He was born. In fact, my dad sent me something this week, his baby record. So he was born in 1901 and in the UK, and then he. In India and Burma Myanmar as it is now and the UK, and then moving to New Zealand when he was 80. So he kind of, he lived everywhere during that time. He lost everything in his life three times, and one of those times was having to walk out of Myanmar. But as the Japanese were invading during world war two. Wow. Um, and yet right up to his, you know, his last decade, he died when he was just over a hundred. Completely embodied this idea of resilient learning. Um, when he was in his early nineties, he said to dad, I think you need to buy me a laptop because I think it's time I learned to email and then started emailing people, in fact, to Myanmar and finding people in places that he had lived when he was a young man. And, um, Continue driving. And in fact, tat to resit as driver's license the day before he turned two days before he turned to a hundred, because you do because of age and passed it. But the thing that he had was. I just, I just need to keep learning. There's nothing gonna stop me. You know, why shouldn't I learn it? Doesn't because I'm a hundred doesn't mean I can't change my mind on something. And I saw him change his mind on different things. And for me, he's been a massive inspiration about seeing that my life is a journey of that and that there's nothing to stop us. It's only ourselves. That stop us and get in the way of a, seeing that we can continue that growth development and learning. And, um, we can choose it.

Andrew:

Absolutely just as you, as you're talking there, as I think about when I said that work was exciting and boring and the boring bit was using the same assumptions, the same tool to try and solve different challenges. A lot of the assumptions in our education system and our political, our economic, our religious, our social systems are I'm going to be generous and say hundreds of year old, there could be thousands of years. Um, and, I'm not saying that any of those things are bad, but we need to re-examine them and then use that to, to reimagine how we can be. And the idea from the education system is when you finish college, you're done, you have the blessing, you have the nice piece of paper with the embossed seal off you go into the world. And that that's a very outdated, um, mindset, but so many institutions still seem to embrace that. Because rarely when I've interviewed, have I been asked or what else are you doing to learn that it's usually where did you go to college? What degree did you get? What GPA did you have? Those kinds of questions, but it's more, how do you continue to learn and grow and develop as a better indicator of how somebody is going to perform?

Jean:

Well, especially when you've had a few years in the workforce, like you and I have, it kind of seems important that what I did at school is no longer relevant. Am I still learning? It's really much more important. The, actually it links back to one of the other things that I heard on this podcast was that there are two other factors were three. He said actually, but there were two that linked to our conversation. One was conscientious. And the other was curiosity. And you were just saying then stimulated that for me, you know, um, our brains will not suffer such cognitive decline if we're really curious, and that we're constantly questioning and thinking and, uh, challenging our own assumptions, learning new.

Andrew:

No, no, you just sparked an idea for me. I've just made a note. I'm going to have to, how do you build your curiosity? I think I have some, but how do I make that more apparent? Um, and as a sales person, I was taught you always begin your question. I'm curious when you're talking to the customer, cause it's a good thing, but it's self-reinforcing maybe I need to go back and start asking. I'm curious more often as a coach. I do, but how do I bring that to my learning? I'm going to have to reflect on that. Thanks.

Jean:

It's a nice one. Isn't it? Yeah. Good. Okay. So, um, let's move into a few other questions and I wonder if you could say it about critical career moments and what happened and what did you learn from that?

Andrew:

So I'd been a very successful. Um, top performer in Asia Pacific got a fly to Mexico for a week with my wife. Great fun. Um, and I got promoted into a sales director role and whilst I, I have reasonable people skills, we weren't making the sales, the sales director role. Wasn't working for me team. Wasn't making the numbers, whether that was me not holding them accountable or market conditions, whatever it was, it's not important. Uh, my manager had washed his hands. Found it very difficult to talk to me about this. Um, but his manager decided to sit me down and have a conversation. And the first thing this chap said was Andrew you look like this is going to be a really serious conversation and I've laughed and said, well, my manager's manager wants to talk to me in a conference. What am I meant to think? And then he said, actually I needed to go for a smoke. Can we go for a walk? I don't think you've really needed a smoke. He needed to take us out of the environment and do something different. And over the course of the conversation that we just half a dozen open questions, um, we chatted about the role and the challenges and what I liked and what I didn't like and what I was interested in and what I wasn't. And at the end of just about 20 minutes, he said, I don't think you want this job. And that was it. That was a decision point. And I said, you know, based on this conversation, no, I don't. And then having taken that risk, he said, well, you know, we want you to stay with the business because we really like what you do, but we need to find the right role. And then over the course of that six months, they found a role for me. Um, but it was having the brave. Oh, it was been fortunate to have a leader that was prepared to ask the questions, but being brave enough to tell the truth. Cause I could have said no, no, no, I'm good with this. And I would have stayed in the job. I didn't like. So, um, they're having the bravery to say no I don't. And then that following on conversation was well based on what you've just said, these kinds of roles sound. Let's talk a little bit more about that and that really help. And actually, that's why I became a coach. That's why I ended up in facilitation and solution design, because it was more about solving the problem, not selling the solution.

Jean:

What a beautiful leadership moment from him, which enabled you to be honest as well. That was a real partnership in leading.

Andrew:

That's real watershed moment. And as a, as a leader, I ended up going back into management later on, but that really stuck with me as a way to deal with somebody who wasn't, you know? Yeah. I'll go back to farming. You know, when I planted a seed of seeds, didn't grow, I didn't blame the seeds. What was wrong with the environment that they have too much water? Was it too hot? You can get them metaphor, so when somebody wasn't performing, I'd spend time talking to them to find out, well, what is it? That's not clicking. And sometimes they would, it was a relationship. Sometimes it was a process. Sometimes it was the role, but then you were able to do things differently. Yeah.

Jean:

I think there's also a big lesson that I'm hearing in this for us in our careers, because. I mean many times I talk about this, we've got this idea that our career needs to kind of go upwards. Um, and when I talk to people like you that are successful career, mostly people will say, oh, there were a few times when mine went downwards or sideways or, you know, in a direction that nobody planned. And I'm glad it did. It was painful at the time, but it was a good thing for it to happen. And I think it's almost like we need to expect it, plan for it and welcome it because it's part of what helps us to be more well-rounded and have a richer working life.

Andrew:

Yeah. You actually write Jean. A lot of people think that your career is up or out. And then if you go out to just go up in the next place, but sometimes I've seen people who were in there were marketing managers and they wanted to be a sales manager, but they didn't have the sales domain knowledge. So they went to with sales or so they went backwards. But inside 18 months, they were a sales manager because they had the leadership capability. It was the domain knowledge that they needed to add. So they went backwards to go forwards. Sometimes you just want to take a lateral that's another valid career move, um, inside the same organization. But what about stretch assignments? What about enrichment assignment? All of those things help you plan out where it is you want to go, but how often do people say. Sit back and reflect on what's available to them. Think big picture and then make decisions.

Jean:

Um, and, and especially in our flatter organizations, it's much harder anyway, for people to have a vertical career. So be really honest about that. I think it involves, um, learning more in a way than movement forward in some ways. So you mentioned earlier that you're reading six books. Uh, I'm curious. Here's the curious question. Which book or books have influenced you that you'd like to recommend?

Andrew:

So the ones I'm reading at the moment I'm starting, I started reading atomic habits by James clear, um, listen to Bernie Brown's podcast, interviewing him. So if anybody that doesn't like to read books, that's a great cheat. Instead of reading the book that said atomic habits breaks that how do you make things? How do you break bad habits and build good habits? So that, that one's had a big impact. As much for giving me permission to reflect on the past and realize why some things worked and some didn't versus how do I build new habits going forward? Um, so atomic habits is one that stands out. Um, I'm in the middle of Brené Brown's Atlas of the heart, which is not an easy read and it's not a straight line read. It's a dip in and dip out. Um, but I'm really enjoying that. Um, I guess this. Part of my, um, approach to experimentation. Uh, Annie Murphy, Paul wrote a book called the extended mind, which I think, cause I'm just early on I think that's the science of intuition and how people discover better insights without thinking about it. It's been obviously fastening. So I'm, I'm, I'm, I'm reading that one at the moment, but to be honest, identifying one or two books, I read so much sort of 30 or 40 books a year. And my hack is if I get three quarters of the way through, and I think I've read enough, I'll just start reading and move on to the next one. I wouldn't say life's too short to read every book end to end. But you can curate the content pretty quickly. I think it was, um, Dan pink said, um, half the books in America, all of the non-fiction books in America could be twice as good if they were half as long. And I tend to agree.

Jean:

They get stretched out cause there's an ideal word. Count for a book and you feel have to, to.

Andrew:

Exactly. Exactly. So those are, those are the books. And then, and then I read a lot of science fiction and the reason I read a lot of science fiction Jean, as I find that they just have interesting ideas that are all great reframes for ordinary situations that we face. So they get me to think differently about what I do every day. Um, I don't get the same from bodice rippers or detective novels or spy novels. So hence science fiction seems to be the genre of choice.

Jean:

Um, it's interesting. Cause there's a lovely like between Joseph Campbell's work about myth and down through the years and science fiction. And, um, of course the end of the star wars stories were heavily influenced by Joseph Campbell's work. And there is I'm sure an ongoing connection between the way science fiction can be used to tell a story. Um, I'm not a big science fiction reader myself, but I can see how that connection and that ability to use fantasy is a way of creating ideas and in a new and fresh way.

Andrew:

No, I, I don't know how this connects to making sense of work. That said what I'm finding is the most avant-garde science fiction writers are writing 18 months to two years in the future. And when they write about stuff, you go back a year later. Damn, they were writing about that. And now it's the standards I don't. Where did they get that? Did they just, did they know that was going to happen or did they make a lucky guess, but I just find that maybe the future is now and we're living inside science fiction. We just haven't noticed yet.

Jean:

Maybe we're just the big experiment.

Andrew:

Yeah. Now we're now down the simulation conversation. We won't go there.

Jean:

Brilliant. Well, Andrew, uh, it's really been very good to talk to you and I feel personally stimulated to go away and think deeper about my own. Lifelong journey. I know I've noticed actually, as we're talking that I do a lot of learning. That's part of my nature. I read a lot of books, but they're all in the same area. And actually it's really as time for me, I think, to step outside and push myself to areas that are not comfortable necessarily because even if you connect it back to work, any form of learning can stimulate creative thinking in our brains, which can come back to our work and how important that.

Andrew:

And, and just on that note, connecting it back to work, you know, the likes of, um, degreed and LinkedIn learning and coursera and all of the, the digital platforms. So there's all of these videos and articles and audio books. Um, and then there's re traditional books. And then there are focus groups and there are online synchronous courses, not asynchronous courses. So there's such a wide range of content. Why shouldn't you do. A whole bunch of stuff and see what sticks. You'd be amazed at the connections you can make that you didn't see before.

Jean:

Um, well, certainly certainly creating this podcast has taken me out of my comfort zone. I mean, all sorts of technologies, fairs. I never imagined I would get so

Andrew:

Poster child for lifelong learning.

Jean:

No, my grandfather was the poster child for life long learning., uh, well, really great to have this conversation with you, Andrew, as always. And, uh, I look forward to hearing the next installment of the lifelong learning journey for you. Thank you very much. Thanks a lot.