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Published on April 3, 2020

What Is Continuing Education And Why Is It Important?

What Is Continuing Education And Why Is It Important?

In our world of information overload, the question “what is continuing education?” is a very common one. Depending on the individual and situation, it can also mean a variety of things that range across the education spectrum.

What Is Continuing Education?

Continuing education is an all-encompassing term that describes a variety of formal and informal learning activities and methods.

For example, at one end of the spectrum, we have courses and certifications that enabled you to further develop your skills and knowledge in specific areas of your career or profession. At the other end of the spectrum, we have much simpler activities such as reading or attending seminars which you can also utilize to great effect to continue educating yourself.

There is no right or wrong option here. The real goal is figuring out which option works best for you and how you can apply it to your daily life.

In the end, self-education comes down to your pursuit of acquiring knowledge or developing skills.

Keep in mind that continuing education ranges from getting the requirements to take that next step in your professional life, to learning and pursuing research based on your interests.

Throughout the process of education, we begin to adopt the idea that we can only learn from authority figures, such as people with the appropriate credentials and accolades, or those who are given the title of teacher or professor.

This is an outdated opinion, especially given the contemporary world where most people already have access to so much relevant information at the tip of their fingertips.

There is something that can be learned from everyone and every experience that you have in your life. But to begin grasping those lessons, you first need to appreciate them.

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Imagine this scenario:

You are walking down the street in your home town and somebody stops you to have a quick conversation. However, you think you are busy so you avoid them. This is an unfortunately common occurrence for a lot of individuals.

If you walk around thinking that you are better than other people, or as though you are too busy to make time for them, you are going to miss out on many potentially important lessons.

This is why an attitude of gratitude is becoming increasingly important. If we can learn to adopt an attitude of gratitude, we are going to become more receptive to the lessons around us.

This enables us to better answer the question we started with:

What is continuing education?

It is being open to the opportunities that the universe presents us so that we can continue to learn.

Imagine if you could not only retain what you were learning every day but also build on that knowledge. Think about the impact that would have on your life.

Why Is Continuing Education Important?

Now that we have a better understanding of the answer to the two questions mentioned earlier, it is time to discuss why all of these are important.

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After all, if we do not understand why continuing education is important, we are more likely to lose motivation, which is an obstacle that we would prefer to avoid.[1]

Compliance With Professional Standards

For professionals and workers who are required to stay up to date with their knowledge and skillsets, the need for continuing education is quite clear. This type of education enables them to comply with the laws, standards, and certifications that allow them to remain licensed and working within their profession.

They need these opportunities to start a career in their field of interest. Continuing education allows them to become more qualified so that they can progress to higher levels within their profession and gain more income, freedom, or responsibility.

Learning More About What You Are Passionate About

However, for other individuals, continuing education has another importance. Continuing education enables people to learn more about the things they are passionate about.

This impact can take effect in a variety of different ways. Continually educating yourself could give you the confidence boost you need and serve as a foundation for the next step you want to take in a given area of knowledge.

Sometimes people are not yet fully aware of their passions in life. Reading this article can help you find yours: How To Find and Develop Your Passions.

Opportunities to Meet People

Another significance of continuing education is that it presents opportunities to meet other people. In a world that puts high importance on having a wide social network, continuing education becomes very useful. Even if you are just making new friends in your field, it can have a significant impact on your path towards your education.

Finally, and possibly the most important reason is that continuing education allows you to learn about the things that you have an innate curiosity for. It allows you to begin pursuing your passions and directing yourself towards the future that you would enjoy bringing into reality.

Develop an Attitude of Gratitude for Continuous Learning

Now let us shift from our original question of “what is continuing education?” to “how do we develop attitudes of gratitude?” for a brief moment.

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In the next section, we will quickly examine why this is an important component of our answer to the first question.

There are a few ways to begin working towards embodying an attitude of gratitude, and you can pick and choose the attitudes that resonate with you the most.

Here are a few examples that you may consider:

1. Take the Time to Meditate

Meditation is one way for people to begin developing more gratitude within themselves. This may seem counterintuitive at first. But how does doing nothing develop a grateful attitude? You are right, it does not.

However, it does put us in a great headspace, which encourages us to become more mindful in our daily practices and make us more receptive to gratitude.

If you want to learn more about meditation, this quick guide may help you: The 5-minute Guide to Meditation: Anywhere, Anytime.

2. Express Your Gratitude Verbally

Another straightforward way to begin developing an attitude of gratitude is to begin talking about it more and expressing your gratefulness. You can express it to someone for something as simple as them opening up a door for you. Saying thank you goes a long way for you and others.

By acting gratefully, you will begin having these emotions more regularly, which can eventually integrate into your normal actions.

3. Create a Daily Gratitude Journal

Another method is to keep a gratitude journal. This brings your gratitude from your mind to your external environment where you can more effectively visualize what it is that you are thankful for.

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For example, say you are thankful for your family. The next time one of them gets on your nerves, read your journal so you will be more reminded of how you are grateful for them, even though they annoyed you.

Overall,  these activities instill the mindset of being receptive to the lessons around you so that you can fully absorb them and grow into a better person.

If you like more tips on how to develop an attitude of gratitude, check out this article: 40 Simple Ways To Practice Gratitude

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, you now have a better answer to the question of continuing education now that you have read this article.

By now, you should not only understand what an attitude of gratitude is, but also how you can begin developing it in your own life. Hopefully, through these efforts, you will prime yourself to become more receptive to new learning experiences in your daily life and never miss another opportunity to grow as an individual.

Finally, you should now know the importance of continual education, both from a professional standpoint and a personal one. Through this, you can truly take your life wherever you would like it to go and become whatever type of person you wish to become.

Your future is in your hands.

Want to Know More About Continuing Education?

Featured photo credit: Clay Banks via unsplash.com

Reference

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Mark Lynch

Featured Life-Balance, & Personal Development Author

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Last Updated on October 5, 2020

How to Use Deliberate Practice to Be Good at Almost Anything

How to Use Deliberate Practice to Be Good at Almost Anything

I first came across the principle of deliberate practice in the book Peak by Anders Ericsson and Robert Pool. According to Anders Ericsson,[1]

“Deliberate practice involves stepping outside your comfort zone and trying activities beyond your current abilities.”

What that means is breaking down the skill you want to acquire into separate components and developing your skills, so you master each individual part of the skill. Deliberate practice is not practicing something over and over and not pushing yourself to improve.

In this article, you will discover how you can make deliberate practice work in your everyday life and achieve your goals faster, even when you lack innate talent.

How Deliberate Practice Works in Everyday Life

Imagine you want to become a better presenter. Deliberate practice requires breaking down the presentation into different sections.

For example, you could break down the presentation into the beginning, the middle, and the end. Then, you would work only on the beginning one day. You would practice the tone, the pauses, and even your movement at the beginning of the presentation. On another day, you might practice the transition from beginning to the middle, etc.

The opposite approach would be to mindlessly run through the presentation over and over again until you memorize the script. This type of practice might help you to memorize your script, but you would not necessarily deliver a great presentation. It would likely sound forced and over-practiced instead of dynamic and natural[2].

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Do Lots of Deliberate Practice

    In my teenage years, I was an aspiring middle-distance runner. During the winter months, we ran a lot of long distances on the road as well as cross country. The purpose was to develop our overall stamina and basic strength.

    As the summer approached, we transitioned onto the track and did a lot of 10 X 600 meters with 60 seconds rest between runs. Here, we were working on our speed endurance, a key factor in performing well at middle-distance running.

    Six hundred meters was not my racing distance. I ran 800 and 1,500 meters, but those 10 x 600-meter training sessions were a form of deliberate practice to develop the necessary skills to be able to perform at our best in a crucial part of the race—the middle.

    How to Use Deliberate Practice

    There are specific steps you can take to get good at deliberate practice and achieve a high level of performance for a specific goal.

    1. Break it Down

    Whatever skill you want to acquire, you need to break it down into different parts.

    Imagine you want to become better at writing. You could break down the writing process into creating eye-catching beginnings, strong middles, and inspiring endings.

    If you were to work on the beginning part of the writing process, you could practice different types of introductions. For example, you could try starting with a quote, a detailed description, or a personal story.

    Anything you want to practice can be broken down into smaller steps. Identify them and put them in a list to make sure you stick to the right order of things.

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    2. Create a Schedule

    Now that you know the steps, you should create a schedule to keep yourself motivated. Studies have shown that having a set deadline helps improve motivation by offering feedback on how close or far you are from a goal[3].

    For example, if you want to learn to play the guitar, try scheduling an hour each day to start practicing the chords. You can set yourself a deadline to learn your first song within three months.

    Find what schedule feels doable with the lifestyle you have. This will help you experience continued improvements through purposeful practice.

    3. Get a Coach

    One key part of deliberate practice is toget feedback from teachers or coaches.

    In our writing example, you could ask a friend or a person you know who reads a lot, and ask them what they think of your beginning. Ask them how you could improve it. With the feedback in hand, you can then go back and rewrite the introduction to make it even more eye-catching.

    If you were to develop your presentation skills, you could practice your opening with a colleague or friend you trust, and ask them for feedback. The key is to listen carefully to the feedback and then to go back and fine-tune your practice so you push your skills further.

    If you do not have access to anyone who can provide you with honest feedback, you can video yourself performing your presentation and do a self-critique. It is hard to watch yourself at first, but after you get over the initial shock, you can watch dispassionately and see how you move, sound, and perform.

    Do you use your tone and energy to make it interesting? Are you conveying your message clearly? Are you using too many filler words? All these questions will help you to improve your craft and skills.

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    Earlier this year, one of my communication clients asked me to review and coach his senior leadership team on a presentation they were to give to the CEO of the company, who was visiting Korea. After going through their individual presentations with them, I felt there was no passion, no emotion, no pride in what they had achieved over the previous twelve months.

    Because they had rehearsed their presentation alone with no coaching or feedback, they had focused too much on the script and missed the important energy and passion.

    I advised my clients to look at their scripts and think about what they were proud of and what they were excited about in the coming year. That one, small shift in perspective quickly put the energy and passion into their presentations.

    Getting feedback is an important part of getting the most out of deliberate practice.

    4. Use the Internet to Get Anonymous Feedback

    Another way you can get feedback is to put your writing skills online in the form of a blog post and ask people to give you feedback on your writing style. Or, you could record yourself and upload the video to YouTube. I began a YouTube channel three years ago, and this allowed me to improve my presentation skills through self-analysis.

    I have also received a lot of feedback, both positive and negative, which I reviewed and corrected where I felt the criticisms were justified. An example of this was my introductions to my videos. When I first began, my introductions were long and rambling.

    I received a lot of feedback about this, and I soon shortened them and learned to get straight to the point. It has helped me to sharpen my message.

    Bonus Tip

    The role of deliberate practice is

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    to accelerate your learning skills. With learning languages, for example, traditionally we would buy ourselves a textbook and learn grammar principles and long lists of vocabulary. Once we had some basics learned, we would then practice speaking and writing sentences.

    If you were to apply deliberate practice to your language learning process, you would find someone—preferably a native speaker of your target language—and talk to them. They would correct you and advise you where you can improve your pronunciation and intonation.

    Chris Lonsdale talked about this when he delivered his TEDx Talk on how to learn a language in six months. All the advice he gave in that talk was based on the principles of deliberate practice:

    Final Thoughts

    Whatever it is you want to master and improve your skills at, when you use the power of deliberate practice, you can quickly become better than the average and achieve top performance.

    Developing your skills in the area of communication can give you huge advantages in your workplace. Learning and mastering anything new can give you the skills to stay relevant in your industry.

    As we go through the disruptive changes of the “fourth industrial revolution,” the onus is on you to develop yourself, and engaging in deliberate practice is one way you can give yourself the advantage.

    More to Help You Learn Faster

    Featured photo credit: Elijah M. Henderson via unsplash.com

    Reference

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