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Published on October 3, 2019

When You Never Stop Learning, These 5 Amazing Things Happen

When You Never Stop Learning, These 5 Amazing Things Happen

Imagine if what you’ve been told about learning is a myth.

For example, many people believe that learning ends when you leave college, or that you need to have a high IQ to be able to learn easily. And it’s also a common belief that only young people can learn new things.

Now, not only are all these beliefs completely wrong — but they’re also incredibly harmful to people who buy into them.

The truth is that the ability to learn is available to everyone, including yourself. You just need to find the desire, motivation and purpose to get the ‘learning habit’.

That’s what this article is all about.

I’m going to show you the incredible benefits of lifelong learning. And I’m going to inspire you to start traveling down this glorious road so you can transform your life.

Ready to get started?

Then read on as I reveal five amazing things that will happen when you never stop learning.

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1. You Have a Sharper Mind

Continuous learning helps to keep your mind fresh and your memory sharp.

In fact, research has shown that learning in general has beneficial effects on the brain, including lessening your risk of dementia.[1]

To give you an example of this in action, let me tell you about one of my life coaching clients.

He initially came to me as he felt like he had lost his way in life (he was in his mid-40s at the time). Upon speaking with him, it became obvious to me that not only was he directionless, but he also lacked the spark of life. You know what I mean, that drive and energy that you get once you’re excited about something.

During the course of several one-to-one sessions with him, I was able to help him find out what he wanted to do in his life, and I also instilled in him the power of continuous learning. I did this by asking him to learn at least one new thing a day.

After doing this for a month, he called me up to say that he was feeling enthusiastic about life again. He’d fallen in love with being curious about things and was learning new stuff everyday. He also told me that his mind and memory had never been sharper.

2. Your Confidence Is Boosted

If — like the person I mentioned above — you feel you’ve lost your way in life, then I’m guessing that your confidence has taken a knock too.

This is where learning new things and taking on new challenges can really help.

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For example, imagine that you made the decision today to learn how to rock climb (even though you’re afraid of heights!).

You might initially read a book on the topic, or watch a few videos on YouTube. After that, you’d probably want to enroll in a professional rock climbing group. That way, you could learn to gradually overcome your fear of heights, while at the same time learning the essential techniques of rock climbing.

Within a few weeks, you could be climbing to new heights!

3. Your Interpersonal Skills Are Improved

When you become an active learner, it’s almost inevitable that you’ll widen your social circle and improve your interpersonal skills.

Let’s say you decided to learn how to play chess…

At first, you might learn the rules and some of the basic moves by playing against a computerized opponent. But keep doing this often enough, and eventually you’ll want to test out your skills against a human opponent. This might be a friend, family member or colleague. But whoever it is, your mental battle with them will mean that you share a common experience. One that you’re sure to talk about often.

And if chess eventually becomes a favorite hobby of yours, you might well join a local chess club. This would allow you to meet lots of new people — all who love the game as much as you.

This type of learning can extend your social circle, attract new friends, and enhance your relationships.

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4. You Adapt Change a Lot Better

Greek philosopher Heraclitus revealed a timeless truth: “Change is the only constant in life.”

I’m sure you’ve experienced this in your life. However hard you try to avoid change; there’s no holding this force back.

Once you know this, though, then the secret to success is to be able to adapt to the changes that come your way.

Learning can definitely help you do this. That’s because through the learning process (say learning how to drive a car), you develop skills such as persistence, understanding and resilience. All key skills that can help you deal with any changes in your life that you’re forced to encounter.

Learners are strivers. And strivers know how to turn challenges into opportunities, and adversities into blessings.

5. You Open Up New Career Opportunities

If you want to climb the career ladder or start your own business, then it’s vital that you’re constantly learning.

But not just random stuff.

To be effective, your learning should be primarily focused on your career goals.

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For instance, if you wanted to set yourself up as a freelance business consultant, then I’d recommend that you did your research first:

  • Who are your likely customers?
  • What can you offer them?
  • How much should you charge them?
  • Can you secure enough work to pay your bills?

To find these answers, you probably need to read books and watch videos related to business consulting. But you’d also want to speak to likely customers, to see if and how you could be of help to them. These customers would also be able to give you an idea of how much they would be willing to pay for your services.

If you decided to go ahead with pursuing this career, then the above research will be a good start. But you should keep learning how to improve your skills (including communication and marketing skills), and you should also seek feedback from all your clients — as this will be sure to reveal your strengths and weaknesses.

When it comes to your career, the bottom line is this:

By continually learning relevant, new information, you’ll keep yourself ahead of your competitors. And you’ll also keep yourself in demand from your clients.

Final Thoughts

So, as you can hopefully see from the above, a commitment to lifelong learning will turbocharge your health, happiness and success. And of course, there are more benefits to learning than the ones I’ve listed above. For instance, you’re likely to earn more, you’ll rekindle your zest for life — and you’ll have fun!

In my experience of managing dozens of staff and working with hundreds of life coaching clients, I’ve noticed that those people who have a love for learning, also have a love for life. They’re naturally curious about everything. And this curiosity drives them to seek out new knowledge and skills. They’re also unfazed by change (some of them actually thrive in these circumstances).

If you feel that you’ve lost the ‘learning bug’, then please don’t give up! Reignite your passion for learning through reading self-improvement books, watching inspiring movies, and most importantly… by learning new things!

When you learn how to learn again, your life will be filled with progression and excitement.

More About Learning

Featured photo credit: Clément Falize via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Research Gate: Benefits of Lifelong Learning

More by this author

Leon Ho

Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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Last Updated on October 16, 2019

12 Surprising Benefits of Learning a New Language

12 Surprising Benefits of Learning a New Language

Learning a new language is a big deal.

You’re learning a completely new form of communication, and it enables you to communicate with people you never could have before.

But there’s benefits to learning a language that you might not have expected when you started the journey. I’ve personally experienced this having learned 3 languages in my life (Korean, English, and Spanish).

Think about the effect that losing weight has on someone’s life. While most people get into it for a healthier lifestyle, there can be surprising benefits like increased confidence, being more outgoing, and increased mental clarity.

The same thing can apply to language learning.

In this article, we’ll share the 12 surprising benefits you’ll experience when you learn a language.

1. Learn Anything Faster

Learning a new language is mental agility training at its best. The exercise in cognitive problem solving can without a doubt be applied to almost any problem we want to solve in other areas.

Your memory retention is also improved when learning a new language.[1] Absorbing and retaining more information can significantly shorten your learning curve, because you can spend more time learning new information instead of re-learning something you’ve already learned before.

But it doesn’t stop there. Once you learn a new language, not only are you able to learn other languages faster (simply due to understanding the process), but you’ve already retained key skills for learning several other languages without even knowing it.

For example, if you recently learned how to speak Spanish, you’ve automatically entered the world of languages from the latin root, such as Portuguese, Italian, French, and Romanian. In fact, between these languages there are over a thousand words that are exactly the same, if not very similar to each other.

Screen-Shot-2016-03-07-at-8.00.09-AM

    Notice the similarity of the words between these languages.

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    2. Improve Your Math Skills

    For those of us who didn’t grow up with natural talents in mathematics, no need to fear.

    A study was done at Massachusetts in 2007, where The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages stated that:[2]

    “Children who study a foreign language, even when this second language study takes time away from the study of mathematics, outperform students who do not study a foreign language and have more mathematical instruction during the school day.”

    In another study published in the University of Michigan’s Language Learning journal (Armstrong and Rogers, 1997), students who studied just one semester of a foreign language for just 90 minutes per week scored significantly higher in maths and language arts.

    If you think about it, it makes sense. Learning a language involves a structural and logical process, which is the same type of thinking that makes you thrive in mathematics.

    3. Become a Better Listener

    This is a skillset that comes in handy for any situation throughout our lives.

    If you’re trying to build a real connection with anyone, there’s nothing better than intentional listening without interruption. This is one of the key elements taught in Dale Carnegie’s, How to Win Friends and Influence People.

    When learning a language, there’s no choice but to train yourself to listen carefully, because you’re trying to make out every accent, pronunciation, and tone used by the other person. And if you’re just starting out, you’re forced to listen because you can’t speak the language!

    Most importantly, learning a new language helps you step into the shoes of people different to yourself and see the world in a completely different way— therefore developing empathy for others.

    4. Enhances Your Focus

    In a study, published online in the journal, Brain and Language, individuals who spoke more than one language were observed through an fMRI, while performing word comprehension tasks.[3] This is a far more powerful than the best drugs which only delay the symptoms by 6–12 months.[4]

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    The American Academy of Neurology has performed studies showing that speaking more than one language increases the amount of neural pathways in the brain, allowing information to be processed through a greater variety of channels.

    7. Improve Your Native Language

    We discussed how learning one language can help you pick up not only other languages, but familiarize yourself with languages originating from the same root.

    What most people don’t mention enough, is that it can also help you improve your native language.

    According to an Impact of the Second Language Education study, studying a second language alone will significantly improve your first language skills in areas relating to grammar, reading, vocabulary, and speaking skills.[5]

    This makes sense because learning a new language allows you to understand the structures and breakdown of a language, whereas this is something you likely intuitively picked up when you learned your native language.

    8. Increase Your Creativity

    Language learning is a lot like putting together the pieces of a new puzzle.

    You understand several, but not all of the words that are thrown at you, so you have to force yourself to be creative and fill the missing gaps on your own.

    creative-brain2

      This research concludes that bilingual individuals have a more “out of the box” thinking approach than monolingual individuals.[6]

      While most creativity training occurs in waves (meaning on and off), there’s no taking breaks when you’re having a conversation with someone. You either have to force yourself to become creative in your interpretation and speaking skills, or you’ll need to face up to the awkward silence that follows.

      9. Culturally Knowledgeable

      Language learning is not only about communicating in a foreign language, but it’s about experiencing a new culture.

      The first reason is that meeting foreign people is embedded in the core of language learning. In order to practice and improve your new language, you’ll need to work with a language teacher, use conversation exchanges, or attend language meetups. This is similar to how you need to just ride the bicycle instead of watching videos about it: it’s just part of the process.

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      The majority of conflicts between people in the world come from a lack of understanding of the other side. Studying a new language not only helps you understand where the other person is coming from, but the cultural knowledge you gain can help others feel more connected to you.

      10. Open up New Career Opportunities

      In the past decade, we’ve experienced a rapidly growing trend of globalization. With the Internet era, there is no such thing as doing local business. Nearly every business that opens up today is an online business, and has the ability to reach a global market in seconds.

      Big corporations are working fast to expand internationally to Asia, Europe, and South America, and understanding a foreign language will in the future likely become as standard as knowing Microsoft Word.

      Irene Missen, a language specialist at a top recruitment agency, Euro London, says that languages can open doors for you, and estimates a language can add between 10% and 15% to your wage.[7]

      When it comes to advancing your career, it’s critical to leave no doors closed. Learning a new language takes time, and it’s far better to learn it before you need it than to be unprepared at your next job interview.

      11. Experience a New Way of Traveling

      This is a big one, and often one that’s hard to understand unless you know another language.

      For example, learning how to speak Spanish before you visit Spain for the first time, will give you an entirely different travel experience versus not knowing the language.

      When you can speak the language of the place you’re traveling to, you’re no longer dependent on the typical tourism tips that you’ll get from Tripadvisor. You can build relationships with the locals, and discover restaurants, hot spots, and excursions that tourism websites will never be able to share with you.

      You get to experience the new culture from the eyes of a local, instead of a tourist.

      12. Deepen Your Relationships

      Almost everyone who comes from a different cultural background can probably empathize with this point. With my limited ability to speak Korean, I struggled growing up with Korean family members.

      Luckily, I was able to improve my skills over time (surprisingly, from learning Spanish). But I constantly see people who struggle to have that connection with their family members, friends, or even life partner, because of this language barrier.

      As we shared in this post, the majority of the world’s problem comes down to communication problems. And there’s no bigger barrier to communication than the languages we are able to speak with each other!

      Featured photo credit: Dan Gold via unsplash.com

      Reference

      [1] Science Direct: Working memory development in monolingual and bilingual children
      [2] Daily News Minder: The benefits of learning a foreign language
      [3] AAAS: Bilingual brains better equipped to process information))

      Results showed that multi-lingual individuals were better at filtering out competing words than one-language speaking individuals. This ability to tune out competing words benefits in blocking out distractions to focus on the task at hand.

      As your listening skill improves, it only makes sense that it enhances your focus as well. Just like learning any new skill, learning a language requires your full, undivided attention. One slight distraction can mean the difference between one meaning and a completely different one.

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      Over time, your brain will be trained to maintain this level of focus.

      5. Boost Your Confidence

      When we set out to achieve something and find success, it boosts our confidence levels — no matter how small the progress.

      Even being able to carry a 30-second conversation with a native speaker can make you more confident, because you know it’s something you wouldn’t have been able to do before.

      “Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit.” — E.E. Cummings

      I still remember the “aha moment” I experienced when I was living in Medellin, Colombia. I was living with a roommate who couldn’t speak a word of English when I first moved in. After a few months of using an online app to learn Spanish, I was able to get to a conversation level of fluency. It amazed me how I was suddenly able to speak to someone that I couldn’t have fathomed speaking to before.

      Needlessly to say, as the language barrier disappeared, our positive perception of each other increased dramatically, and so did our friendship.

      This confidence boost only pushed me to learn more, engage with more native speakers, and it translated into more confidence in every aspect of my life.

      Author of Lean Forward, Eric Holtzclaw, states that it is powerful how even a tiny change in perspective can pull you out of a funk and give “you the boost you need to take on that next challenge.”

      6. Prevent Potential Brain Diseases

      Improving our health is something that should be a priority for every one of us, no matter how old we are. Most of us consider improving our health in a few major areas, like our physical appearance. But we tend to miss out on the most important part that runs our entire body — the brain.

      We are nothing without the vital functions of our brain, and we need to prioritize its health like we would with any other vital organ in our body.

      brain-languagemap

        When it comes to the brain, learning a new language can prevent or delay Alzheimer’s disease and dementia by 4.5 years.((Neurology: Bilingualism delays age at onset of dementia, independent of education and immigration status

        [4] Alzheimer’s Association: Medications for Memory
        [5] Rype: 8 Science-Backed Benefits of Learning a New Language
        [6] Cerebrum Dana Foundation: The Cognitive Benefits of Being Bilingual
        [7] Guardian: Learning a foreign language: Now you’re talking

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