The other day I was following a conversation in regards to personal development days as they related to teachers. There was great discussion about the need for PD days for teachers as well as discussion as to why it was equally important for a number of other professions. This led to a discussion in regards to whether or not personal development days were important to all professions. The answer is a resounding yes, but in most cases it just isn’t possible. Usually it’s because the employer is short sighted and doesn’t understand the need and importance of doing the right thing. But there’s a very simple solution. The answer is personal personal development.

We live in an amazing time if you’re interested in learning. Never before in history has it been so possible and even so simple to learn. There are literally a dozen companies and websites and apps that exist solely for the purpose of teaching you something. Most of them even do it for free (I haven’t exactly figured out how or why yet). But what I have learned is to take advantage of this incredible opportunity. From languages to business to programming and every conceivable topic, you can log in right now and learn it. All of it.

Now these possibilities are not without their disadvantages. As a good friend pointed out to me, now everyone thinks they can be a professional at things they really aren’t a professional at. Would you trust a plumber who got a certificate on YouTube? Or a dentist who received their accreditation from Udemy? Ok. You probably wouldn’t. Also, it becomes difficult to sort out contenders from the pretenders when you you’re looking to hire someone for something.

But when it really comes down to it, these are the little things. These small hurdles pale in comparison to the incredible advantages that stem from a world in which you can educate yourself for free. So obviously, everyone is just clamoring for that free education, right? It’s amazing to me how many people are still not doing this. It’s possible to take personal responsibility for your own educational development and yet people are using their free time to do things that go absolutely nowhere. I’m not trying to suggest that I don’t watch Netflix. I’m not trying to suggest that I don’t waste time. I do. Everybody does. But I try my best to balance my time between things that entertain me and things that enlighten me.

Whether or not your job offers you the chance to use work time to improve your skill set does not determine whether or not you can get better. It doesn’t. It might seem that way. We all have things going on in our lives that take up our time. And it’s much easier to make an excuse and not do it than it is to buck up and get it done. But if you really want to succeed you (borrowing a phrase from a dear, dear friend) hustle.