Lifelong learning requires embracing opportunities to learn. We must believe that, at any point in time, we have the potential to change and grow through the application of knowledge and experience.
No one is saying that with enough motivation and hard work we can all become the next Einstein or Beethoven, but lifelong learners do believe that a person’s potential is full of unknown possibilities. Their drive comes from the fact that the outcome of pursing our true potential and passion through training is full of exciting opportunities.
So how do you nurture this so-called growth mindset if it doesn’t come naturally? And how do you hold onto it if you’ve got it already? Follow our nine tips to make sure your passion for learning lasts a lifetime.
1. Accept responsibility for your own learning.
We’ve all had bad teachers and various obstacles that prevented us from sailing smoothly through formal education, but ultimately, we are responsible for our own learning outcomes. This becomes clearer than ever when formal schooling ends and adult life begins. The knowledge you develop is directly related to the effort you put into gaining it.
2. Create your own learning toolbox.
How do you learn? Do you listen to podcasts, jot down notes, draw mind maps, or rehearse what you’ve learned aloud? Identify the tools you use to promote your own learning, and create new ones to add to your collection. Being aware of how you learn is an important part of being an effective lifelong learner.
3. Try new things on a regular basis.
Trying new things not only keeps our brains sharp but also feeds the growth mindset. When you broaden your perspective, you start to realise there’s far more left to learn about the world than you ever imagined. Why not start volunteering, cook a meal from another country or try Pilates?
4. Keep a “to-learn” list and set goals.
It can consist of entire languages or quirky facts, as long as it’s yours. There’s something permanent-feeling about writing something down – try it, you’ll see the difference. Also, it always helps to have a plan. That’s why some of us decide to learn Italian in six weeks or master photography in six months. Identifying and visualising our goals helps us become driven, effective learners.
5. Ask questions when you’re confused.
Many of us think asking questions is a sign of weakness, but I say it’s a sign of maturity. If you are confident enough in your own intelligence to speak up when you need help, you’ll have no trouble becoming a lifelong learner – and you’ll know more than you did if you’d been too shy.
6. Put it into practice.
Skill-based learning is useless if it isn’t applied. Studying painting isn’t the same as picking up a brush. If your knowledge can be applied, put it into practice and create something.
7. Choose a career that encourages learning.
Pick a career that encourages continual learning. If you are in a job that doesn’t have much intellectual freedom, consider switching to one that does. Don’t spend forty hours of your week in a job that doesn’t challenge you.
8. Have projects and hobbies.
It seems like a simple idea, but the truth is, projects and hobbies can easily slip away from us when we’re not looking. Sure, you can learn plenty watching Breaking Bad every at night after work, but what if you also pick up knitting or read a Shakespeare play every other morning? It will only feel like work until you’ve slipped into a routine (which usually doesn’t take long).
9. Improve your memory.
If you can’t remember what you’ve been learning, learning itself can become frustrating. There are plenty of techniques available to help improve your working memory capacity so that you can recall more of what you’ve learned.
Don’t leave learning behind. Making a continuous effort to follow some of these tips will help to ensure you live a fulfilling, interesting and exciting life. And who doesn’t want that?