We are all people in progress and one of the most exciting things about being alive is that we never stop learning and we never stop growing. Seeking out opportunities for continuous learning supports both our personal and professional development and enriches our lives.
Learning can be enlightening, stimulating, fun and it is also great for our overall wellbeing.
Lifelong learning is the continual, voluntary and self-directed pursuit of knowledge and skills for our own development. This type of learning may well take place outside a formal educational institute such as school, university or corporate training.
Lifelong learning embraces both formal and informal learning opportunities and enhances our understanding of the world around us. Being a lifelong learner can of course mean different things to different people, however at its core, it’s about cultivating curiosity and satisfying our thirst for knowledge and wisdom.
Continuous learning throughout our lives can improve life-satisfaction, optimism and self-confidence. The urge to explore and seek out new things helps us to remain vigilant and gain knowledge about our constantly changing environment. This may explain why our brains are evolved to release dopamine and other feel-good chemicals when we encounter new things.
Learning and developing new skills can also help to keep our brain strong and healthy which is especially beneficial as we get older.
Here are 5 tips to help you be a lifelong learner
1. Embrace a beginner’s mindset
Embracing a beginner’s mindset refers to having an attitude of openness, eagerness and lack of preconceptions. The term is translated from the word, Shoshin, which comes from Zen Buddhism. By adopting a beginner’s mindset we approach every situation we encounter as if it is the first time we are experiencing it.
It helps us to be free of preconceptions of how something works and free of expectations about what will happen next. A beginner’s mindset helps us to be curious about understanding things more deeply and more open to a world of possibilities and fresh thinking.
2. Expand your world view
Our world view is a framework of beliefs, values and attitudes which affects everything we perceive, think, feel and do. As we evolve, we can become restricted by the boundaries of what we experience, so constantly expanding our world view will help us to be more open to new experiences and learning.
Reading things that we don’t necessarily agree with or instigating conversations with people that challenge our perspective is a good place to start. Expanding our horizons by embracing new experiences will also help us to develop as well-rounded, balanced and inclusive human beings. By keeping an open mind and open heart we will be able to constantly learn and grow.
3. Be curious
When we seek out challenges and new experiences, we broaden our horizons. It is the major ingredient of learning and life is never boring for a curious person. Curiosity and exploration can help us to embark on some of our greatest adventures. It is the first step our mind takes toward our most valuable discoveries.
Learning something new, overcoming challenges and exploring our potential are all possible because we are curious, and we have the desire and courage to explore.
4. Learn – unlearn – relearn
In a rapidly changing world continuous learning alone is not enough and our ability to unlearn and relearn is just as important. Continually evaluating and challenging knowledge to ensure what we learn is relevant and up-to-date is essential.
Unlearning is a process and starts with the acknowledgement that something we have learnt earlier is now incorrect or obsolete. We then need to erase the conditioning and misconceptions from our mind for good and relearn different information and behaviours. This can be challenging and requires effort, patience and persistence.
5. Turn learning into wisdom
Wisdom is the ability to contemplate and take action by applying knowledge, experience, understanding, common sense and insight.
The ability to learn and to actively do something constructive and beneficial with what we have learnt is the real wisdom. By embracing lifelong learning, we will never stop growing and as we live and learn we have the capacity to become wiser and more enlightened and fulfilled.
Happy lifelong learning 🙂
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