We usually think of education as a tool we need to achieve a desired result. Whether it is getting our dream-job or making any kind of career advancement, we see studying as an elevator that must bring us to the next stage of our development. But in fact, education is more like a staircase that is extremely hard to climb, for various reasons. Studying is exhausting for many, and that is why we dread it so much. For this reason, lifelong learning becomes something we would like to avoid. But is it really that hard and dull to keep studying when your college years are over?
Lifelong learning doesn’t mean being stuck in school forever. It’s much more interesting than taking classes, and you can quickly apply your knowledge in practice. Sometimes it helps you climb up the career ladder, but you can often also learn to meet your personal needs or improve your quality of life. Here are a few reasons why you should continue self-education indefinitely, and how you can, miraculously enough, actually enjoy it.
Working out your professional muscles
As often happens with most occupations now, you cannot learn your craft once and keep your status as a qualified specialist forever. Whether you work as a writer, teacher, or an athlete, you have to keep learning new things about your profession every day. Some extra knowledge is especially important if you seek promotion. “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other,” said John F. Kennedy, and we couldn’t agree more. If you are ready to learn more as a professional, here are a few tips for you to start:
Subscribe to the blogs of leading specialists in your field. You probably know a few famous personalities in your profession. It will be not only interesting but also useful to subscribe to their profiles on social media and thus stay tuned to the recent updates in your field.
Look for career development events held in your area. If you subscribe to your colleagues and professional organizations in your district, you will most likely see educational and career growth events held nearby. Take some time to visit lectures or workshops and socialize with more specialists in your field.
Take courses from online learning websites. These are wonderful helpers available for every lifelong learner. Wherever you are, you can learn your profession better online from top experts in your industry.
As you can see, getting to know more about your career isn’t that hard.
Getting pretty good at your hobbies
We are always eager to learn about what we like to do most. Sports, art, social activities, and anything else you fill your free time with often require a bit of research. And we are delighted to say, learning more about one’s favorite hobbies hardly ever leaves people bored. In this case, discovering new things automatically turns into a pleasure and motivates you to keep going. This way, many of us already do a lot of learning without actually treating their activities as being educational.
Why learn new things about your hobbies, you may ask. Well, you may not need it if your hobby is watching TV shows, but many things we are interested in require a thorough study to explore fully. If you are a fan of any physical activity, you have to know how your body functions in order to avoid injuries from working out. If you like handicrafts, you have to hone your skills to create your own piece of art. If you are fond of cooking, you need to know recipes well in addition to getting more practice in preparing them. Sometimes we learn more about our hobbies than we do about anything else. And that’s fine for as long as this activity keeps you happy and energized. We often need sources of motivation other than our job to live a fulfilling and meaningful life.
Improving your interpersonal communication
Have you always wanted to be a useful colleague and a helpful friend? If so, you are probably working hard on improving your soft skills. These are your personal characteristics that help you work in a team through understanding other people’s emotions, being able to meet their expectations, resolving conflicts that happen, and contributing to the project you are working on. In fact, soft skills such as flexibility, empathy, and constructive thinking will help you as much in your personal life as they do in your career. So, what can you do to improve them?
Reach out to psychologists. Just by reading psychology books or publications, you can sufficiently increase your understanding of how the human mind works and what can be done to get along with each other better.
Find courses on the internet. Websites that provide online learning are full of soft skill development kits. Here, you can learn a lot about effective time management and problem solving that can be an obstacle for anyone.
Interact more with people around you. And last, don’t shy away from people if you are working on your “human” skills. Share time with your family or hang out with friends instead of staying in. Identify which parts of communication you are good at and what you would still like to improve.
Remember that you are the one interested in becoming more sociable and helpful to others.
Mastering skills you need in everyday life
Remember the last time your vacuum cleaner broke, and there was no one around to fix it? Or the moment you couldn’t remove those nasty stains from your favorite clothing? Sometimes, life gives us challenges with which no one else can help, and all that’s left is to learn and resolve the problem as fast as possible. Of course, you don’t need lectures on washing your clothes or repairing devices. But routine problems will keep emerging whether we’re ready for them or not. For such cases, it’s always useful to learn a little bit of everything.
You probably want to ask, “How should I know when something will break and what skills I will need to fix it?” You’re right in thinking that you cannot predict every minor difficulty in your life. And the first thing you need to deal with it is to keep your mind flexible. If you are feeling perfectly fine and comfortable at the moment, remember that that security isn’t carved in stone. Be ready to make changes every now and then and to adapt to life as it goes on. Be ready to learn new things. If you are a driver, keep in mind that your vehicle may break. If you have family commitments, be ready to rescue your loved ones from small everyday crises. A good way to start is to come up with a few typical scenarios of what may go wrong and develop your course of action to fix it. It will not only help you resolve problems but also keep your anxiety low before troubles appear.
Taking better care of yourself and your family
The key thing about engaging in any kind of learning is that you need to acquire new knowledge for a specific reason. A commitment to self-care or family responsibility can be another powerful push to make you learn more. If you are dealing with chronic health issues, you may look up ways to improve your condition. If you want to eat well, you constantly search for recipes to fuel your body in a healthy way. And if you are a parent, your learning skills must simply be superhuman! Here are a few ideas about where we can find information on how to take care of other people:
Healthcare professionals. Whether it is your GP or fitness coach, you may need their opinion before starting anything on your own. By communicating with these people, you will very quickly learn to treat your body properly.
Family and friends. Even though they are not medical specialists, people close to you may have come across the same problem you have. It’s definitely worth asking the people you trust for advice.
Credible online resources. Now, we have too many advisers on social media to let ourselves believe each of them. However, it’s a great idea to subscribe to a few knowledgeable people you trust to expand your awareness about everything you need.
The experience of others is a powerful source of knowledge. All you need is to find the people you can trust in any particular sphere of life.
Discovering new hobbies
As you already know, learning is a way to advance with your favorite activities. Perhaps you won’t turn your hobby into a profession through this method, but you will definitely enjoy what you love by practicing it the correct way. But what if you’re still looking for the passion of your life? In this case, a little learning will help you discover new activities that can easily turn into hobbies.
In many cases, lifelong learning has nothing to do with taking classes. You don’t need lectures to expand your outlook. By merely staying open to new experiences, you can learn a lot about things you never thought were worth your attention. Use your free time to try something new with your peers. And if you’re up for checking your Facebook account once again, look for various popular events in your area. Get into the habit of trying a new activity once or twice a month, and you will make plenty of discoveries by the end of the year.
Staying busy when everyone else is bored
Lifelong learning is far from stressful. There are so many areas of life where you may need to apply new knowledge in the future, knowledge that you are probably gaining right now without even realizing or acknowledging it. And that’s a great thing. You don’t need to enroll in a college program or be stuck at home studying for your classes. As Winston Churchill once said, “I am always ready to learn although, I do not always like being taught.”
As you can see, learning is more flexible, practical, and enjoyable that you may have once thought. Once you try it, you aren’t likely to stop. The algorithm for being a well-educated person is simple — find out what parts of your life need improvements and gradually fill in the gaps with new experience. Take it one step at a time, and you will never get tired of education. True learning is the process of discovering the world easily, without pushing yourself too hard.