Hiroshi "Mickey" Mikitani, Chairman and CEO, Rakuten, Inc.
@hmikitani_e

Take a minute to think about it. You’re probably doing something that’s a learning experience right now.

Even though what you study will vary from what others study, we can all continue to do it. Without constantly taking in new things and improving yourself, your development as a person will come to a halt. Those who put their all into studying have an understanding of the kind of power that can be created by studying something systematically. In the space of four or six years, a senior in high school can become a lawyer or a doctor. If you study, you can change who you are.

Let me stress that studying is not just something you do at a desk. In your daily work, there are always opportunities to learn things. At Rakuten, we value diversity on teams and in departments in part so we can benefit from learning from one another. The accumulation of lessons learned through your job is as valuable a form of studying as anything else.

Still, traditional study also remains a key task for us. One of our core principles at Rakuten is “Always Improve. Always Advance.” We constantly improve how we do things. We learn from each other during our weekly company meetings. We have learned English together, from formal sessions with qualified teachers to informal lunch sessions with colleagues in the cafeteria. This constant studying has helped us grow and compete on the world stage.

And studying doesn’t have to exist only in the workplace. You can study new cultures when traveling. You can absorb new concepts when reading. Many business leaders do it. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has over the last three years challenged himself to read two books every month, learn Mandarin, and meet a new person every day. All of this is studying.

I had a favorite professor in college and I once went to him to ask him for advice about life. He said: “Study your entire life. Study everything.” I have taken that advice myself in studying new languages and the development of new technologies. And I encourage it in everyone I meet.

So, what are you studying right now?