Formal education is something everyone has to go through to a certain degree, but the knowledge it offers isn’t always that practical in real life.
Lifelong learning is how you improve as a person, bit by bit and day by day. It is a self-initiated form of education for one’s personal growth.
Lifelong learners recognize the importance and joy of growth and personal development, so they never settle for what they know and consistently seek to improve and build upon their current knowledge.
Here are 14 habits of people who value lifelong learning. See how many of them you recognize in yourself and other ways to include it to your routine.
14 Habits of Lifelong Learners
1. They Read Daily
Whatever problem or dilemma you currently face, there’s at least one decent book that discusses it and presents various solutions.
Reading is a great way to open up new horizons, train your brain, and revolutionize your life. Through reading, you can connect with successful people and learn from the lessons they share. Through fiction, you can learn through your imagination and that of the author, connecting with worlds that aren’t your own.
Lifelong learners love to get lost in books and do it regularly. Bill Gates knows that reading matters a lot; on his personal blog, he reviews plenty of game-changing books. 
If you want to boost your lifelong learning, pick up any book to get started.
2. They Take Various Courses
Whether it’s online or offline, there are countless courses you can participate in without spending a dime. These are great opportunities to connect with clever, like-minded people and learn from them.
Because of the advanced technology, you can now gain knowledge from online programs, from coding to self-improvement to programs from top universities.
There are endless ways to thrive. What lifelong learners have in common is squeezing as much as possible out of these opportunities.
3. They Actively Seek Opportunities to Grow
Instead of spending your free time lying on the couch and watching TV, you prefer doing something creative and practical. You know every wasted minute is gone forever.
That’s why you’d rather practice your language skills with a native speaker you’ve met, engage in a local meet-up, or attend a class that teaches something you always wanted to learn.
Lifelong learners are committed to staying up-to-date with growth opportunities in their area and participating in them frequently.
4. They Take Care of Their Bodies
“Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity.” -John F. Kennedy
A clever mind combined with a body in great condition is your best asset. Our bodies were designed to move, so leading a sedentary lifestyle harms your physical and mental spheres.
Lifelong learners know the body is your temple. In order to make it flourish for as long as possible, they train regularly, move a lot, and eat healthily.
5. They Have Diverse Passions
Among Steve Jobs’ wise quotes, there’s one I especially like. It’s about connecting the dots:
“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.” -Steve Jobs
Each dot is some event or skill in your life, and it’s only when you go through these elements that you know how to combine them into something great.
Having a variety of passions indicates that you love to progress and engage in lifelong learning. By practicing different skills, you give yourself an advantage over others. During hard times, you are more likely to act intelligently and solve your problems with less effort.
6. They Love Making Progress
If there is passion and a deep desire to grow behind the efforts, your chances of success are much higher than when you are forced to learn.
Lifelong learners love to experience constant growth and improvement. The breakthrough moments help them to notice the impressive change that took place because of the learning process. Any milestone serves as a driving force for further headway.
You can learn more about how to take learning to the next level and make progress in this video:
7. They Challenge Themselves with Specific Goals
To keep growing, you clearly define your goals. SMART goal setting is one important tool to ensure constant growth.
Since you love challenges, a difficult goal doesn’t scare you. Instead, it keeps you motivated and engaged.
Research showed that precise and ambitious goals increase the performance of an individual. As we already agreed, lifelong learners are people who care about their performance, so they never stop improving.
8. They Embrace Change
A complete change can lead to incredible results. This is especially visible in the example of successful companies.
Often, it’s that transformation that created space for their so-called overnight success. Twitter was originally created as an internal service to serve Odeo employees.  Currently, it has over 300 million monthly active users and is considered the second biggest social network.
As a lifelong learner, you know a change can lead to extraordinary results, so you welcome it and stay open-minded about making a shift.
9. They Believe It’s Never Too Late to Start Something
Some people think they are no longer allowed to start something and become successful after a certain age. The truth is, it’s just an excuse to not leave one’s comfort zone.
Opposite to common misconceptions, there’s no wrong age to begin something. Henry Ford was 45 when he invented the Ford Model T car, the first affordable automobile.
Sure, starting early is required for some domains like becoming a professional athlete. However, to learn and improve for its own sake, you are never too old.
10. Their Attitude to Getting Better is Contagious
“We now accept the fact that learning is a lifelong process of keeping abreast of change. And the most pressing task is to teach people how to learn.” -Peter Drucker
There’s nothing better than seeing the people around you involved in what you actively participate in. Oftentimes, the best way to achieve that is to inspire them and be an example. As Gandhi would say, you need to be the change you want to see in the world.
As a lifelong learner, you are extremely passionate about constant growth, and people around you can sense that positive attitude. As a result, they start acting similarly.
11. They Leave Their Comfort Zone
Is it better to step out of your comfort zone? The answer is always yes.
You always embrace discomfort, as the path to success leads through hardship and countless obstacles. Instead of being afraid of facing them, you challenge yourself to overcome more and more challenges.
Every time you get out of your comfort zone, whether you succeed or fail, you learn something new, and that’s the part you love the most.
12. They Never Settle Down
“Knowledge is exploding, so you need to commit yourself to a plan for life long learning.” -Don Tapscott
A sense of being clever enough is something you don’t experience. Undoubtedly, you appreciate what you already know, but that’s never a reason to stop. You just know that once you stop learning, you lose the amazing privilege humans have, namely an ability for never-ending intellectual development.
13. Choose the Right Career
Lifelong learners don’t allow their work to stop them from personal growth. Therefore, they choose careers that allow them to pursue their curiosities. They know their work doesn’t define them, and their love for knowledge can die if they choose the wrong career.
14. They Aren’t Afraid of Failure
“Failures are stairs we climb to reach success.”- Roy Bennett
Lifelong learners know that failure is a part of success, which is why they accept their failure and learn from it. They know that the more failure they will embrace, the stronger and more resilient they will become.
The Bottom Line
Lifelong learning is about building a positive attitude toward the benefits gained when you increase your store of knowledge. Even if you never enjoyed school, you can find ways to enjoy your learning and professional development and learn about things that genuinely interest you. Once you start, you’ll find it difficult to stop.
Don't have time for the full article? Read this.
Lifelong learning is a self-initiated form of education for one’s personal growth
Lifelong learners constantly read, take courses, and expand their knowledge by seeking opportunities.
Stepping out of your comfort zone is another way to stay curious and expand.
Failure is a part of the learning process.
Featured photo credit: Christin Hume via unsplash.com
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