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Last Updated on February 3, 2021

How to Cultivate Continuous Learning to Stay Competitive

How to Cultivate Continuous Learning to Stay Competitive

Assuming the public school system didn’t crush your soul, learning is a great activity. It expands your viewpoint, gives you new knowledge you can use to improve your life, and is important for your personal growth. Even if you discount the worldly benefits, the act of continuous learning can be a source of enjoyment.

“I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.” -Mark Twain

But in a busy world, it can often be hard to fit in time to learn anything that isn’t essential. The only things learned are those that need to be. Everything beyond that is considered frivolous. Even those who do appreciate the practice of lifelong learning can find it difficult to make the effort.

Here are some tips for installing the habit of continuous learning:

1. Always Have a Book

It doesn’t matter if it takes you a year or a week to read a book. Always strive to have a book that you are reading through, and take it with you so you can read it when you have time.

Just by shaving off a few minutes between activities in my day, I can read about a book per week. That’s at least fifty each year.

Reading helps you cultivate curiosity, expand your imagination, and develop more compassion for those who are different from you, making this a great habit of continuous learning.

2. Keep a “To-Learn” List

We all have to-do lists with the tasks we need to accomplish. Try to also have a “to-learn” list where you write ideas for new areas of study.

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Maybe you would like to take up a new language, learn a skill set, or read the collective works of Shakespeare. Whatever motivates you, write it down and make a plan to start on each.

3. Get More Intellectual Friends

Start spending more time with people who think. Spend time with people who are not just smart, but people who actually invest much of their time in learning new skills and knowledge and thinking critically about the world around them. Their habits will rub off on you and push you more toward continuous learning.

Even better, they will probably share some of their knowledge with you.

4. Guided Thinking

Albert Einstein once said,

“Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking.”

Simply studying the wisdom of others isn’t enough; you have to think through ideas yourself. Spend time journaling, meditating, or contemplating over ideas you have learned. This is often best done in the early morning hours before your brain is occupied with the day’s tasks.

5. Put It Into Practice

Skill-based continuous learning is useless if it isn’t applied. Reading a book on a coding language isn’t the same thing as writing a program. Studying painting isn’t the same as picking up a brush.

If your knowledge can be applied, put it into practice.

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In this information age, we’re all exposed to a lot of information, so it’s important to re-learn how to learn so as to put the knowledge into practice and build muscle memory, as well as long-term memory.

6. Teach Others

You learn what you teach. If you have an outlet of communicating ideas to others, you are more likely to solidify that learning.[1]

Start a blog, mentor someone, or even discuss ideas with a friend. Consider a book club, volunteer tutoring, or a personal vlog to get started.

7. Clean Your Input

Some forms of learning are easy to digest, but they often lack substance.

I make a point of regularly cleaning out my feed reader for blogs I subscribe to. Great blogs can be a powerful source of new ideas, but every few months, I realize I’m collecting posts from blogs that I am simply skimming.

Every few months, purify your input to save time and focus on what counts.

8. Learn in Groups

Lifelong learning doesn’t mean condemning yourself to a stack of dusty textbooks. Join organizations that teach skills and try observing more experienced individuals.

Workshops and group learning events can make educating yourself a fun, social experience. Take a photography class, join a hiking group, or start a Saturday dinner group where you and your friends experiment making new dishes.

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9. Unlearn Assumptions

You can’t add water to a full cup. Too many convictions simply mean too few paths for new ideas.

Actively seek out information that contradicts your worldview if you are genuinely interested in continuous learning. Finding information that supports what you already believe will lead to limited perspectives, which will keep you inside a knowledge box that prevents learning.

Our minds can’t be trusted, but this is what we can do about it to be wiser.

10. Find Jobs That Encourage Learning

Pick a career that cultivates a continuous learning culture. If you are in a job that doesn’t have much intellectual freedom, consider switching to one that does.

Don’t spend forty hours of your week in a job that doesn’t challenge you. This may mean volunteering at something new or even starting a side business that will force you to learn and grow.

11. Start a Project

Set out to do something you don’t know how to do, whether in a personal or business environment. Forced learning in this way can be fun and challenging.

If you don’t know anything about computers, try building one. If you consider yourself a horrible artist, try creating a painting. This project can take one hour or one month, but it should challenge you to stretch your skills and learn new ones.

12. Follow Your Intuition

Lifelong learning is like wandering through the wilderness. You can’t be sure what to expect, and there isn’t always an end goal in mind.

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Letting your intuition guide you can make self-education more enjoyable. Most of our lives have been broken down to completely logical decisions, so making choices on a whim has been stamped out. However, the decisions we make with our gut can often lead to the most positive changes in life.

13. The Morning Fifteen

Productive people always wake up early. Use the first fifteen minutes of your morning as a period for continuous learning and reflection.

If you find yourself too groggy, you might want to wait a short time. Just don’t put it off until later in the day where urgent activities will push it out of the way.

14. Reap the Rewards

Learn information you can use. Understanding the basics of programming allows me to handle projects that other people would require outside help with. Meeting a situation that makes use of your educational efforts can be a source of pride.

15. Make Learning a Priority

Few external forces are going to persuade you to learn, so the desire has to come from within. Once you decide you want to make constant learning a habit, it is up to you to make it a priority in your life. Set learning goals, make a plan, and take action to keep yourself moving.

The Bottom Line

Continuous learning doesn’t have to be complex or complicated. Setting even a small goal to learn something new each week can help you build more knowledge and become a more well-rounded person. Learn more and watch how your life becomes more interesting.

More About Continuous Learning

Featured photo credit: Tran Mau Tri Tam via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Scott H Young

Scott is obsessed with personal development. For the last ten years, he's been experimenting to find out how to learn and think better.

How To Create More Time: 21 Ways to Add More Hours to the Day How to Motivate Yourself: 13 Simple Ways to Try Now The Planning Fallacy: Why Your Plans Fail How to Cultivate Continuous Learning to Stay Competitive 7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

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Last Updated on April 8, 2021

11 Best Self-Improvement Classes in 2021

11 Best Self-Improvement Classes in 2021

Even during the midst of a pandemic, self-improvement is still a crucial aspect to our lives today. There are tonnes of articles that you could be reading from our site or from others. However, the articles aren’t able to provide the depth and the growth you need when compared to courses or programs.

So if you are looking to step up your own self-improvement and invest in yourself and the life you want to lead, here are some of the best self-improvement classes to consider.

But before getting to that, here is the criteria that we use to determine these courses. All of these qualities have been present in the best self-improvement classes we could find:

  • Little commitment – All these courses can be done in the comfort of your own home and at your own pace as well. Most of these courses recommend spending a few hours each week on their material.
  • Prestigious – These courses are done by recognizable institutes with good reputation on their education quality.
  • Leverage on skillset – Each of the courses focuses on one area of your life, however it also helps develop other areas of your life at the same time.

1. Lifehack Mastercourses & Free Fast-Track Classes

Lifehack isn’t just a blog but rather a hub with all kinds of resources at people’s disposal. You may already be familiar with our particular workbooks, but we also provide courses of our own.

The first set of courses are free courses that are designed to teach you about your full life skills – the Fast-Track Classes. Specifically, we’ll be focusing on skills that multiply your time, energy, and the overall quality of your life. There are four courses that are about 20 minutes long each ensuring you have the tools and resources you need to achieve your goals fast:

Our second set of courses are the courses where we help you break free of your limitations to become the best version of yourself. These courses aren’t free, but each course goes into extensive detail on everything from motivation, overcoming challenges and staying focused to improving your overall learning capabilities, controlling your emotions and mindset:

2. The Truth Seeker’s Handbook

In a world where everything can be implied, half-true or misleading, how are you able to tell whether something is actually true? How are you able to convince other people to believe in the facts presented?

There is a lot of research out there showing that the human mind is prone to making thinking errors. We fall into predictable mistakes that lead us to believe in lies that are comforting for us and that the truth is an inconvenience for us. The mistakes we make lead us to be vulnerable and we ultimately make decisions under false beliefs.

This cycle goes on to cause all kinds of pain in our lives in many ways. However, cognitive and behavioral scientists have been able to uncover and find useful strategies we can use to overcome these mental flaws.

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One such method is through the course The Truth Seeker’s Handbook. It’s a 4-week book club micro-course hosted by Dr. Gleb Tsipursky. Through these courses, members will learn how to recognize resist biases in their own thoughts and make truth-based decisions by reading Dr. Gleb’s book The Truth Seeker’s Handbook. Enroll now before the next session begins!

3. The Science Of Well-Being

Yale University has been around for over 300 years at this point and one of the most popular classes in that time span is this one: The Science of Well-Being. After all this time, Yale is providing this course to everyone for free.

In this class, Yale Psychology Professor Laurie Santos introduced this class as “Psychology and the Good Life” in spring 2018. The class was designed to help students in navigating anxiety, depression, and stress in their lives. The class at the time was so popular that roughly a quarter of Yale undergraduates enrolled in it that spring.

Going into more detail about this course, this 4-week course is designed to provide a step-by-step process for boosting happiness. The course heavily focuses on positive psychology – what misconceptions we have about happiness and what has been scientifically proven to make us happier.

Enrol in the course here.

4. Learning How To Learn

Another notable course to consider is the Learning How to Learn course. On the platform Coursera, it is one of the most popular and loved courses on the platform with nearly 2 million students enrolled since it’s been there. It’s taught by the distinguished professors Dr. Barbara Oakley and Dr. Terrence Sejnowski.

The premise of the course is what you’d expect, the goal of this course to teach you to learn more. It’ll ultimately lead to you training your brain to effectively process information and learn complicated subjects even. All of this is done through various tools and methods – from stories to goofy animations like surfing zombies, metabolic vampires and an “octopus of attention”.

Enrol in the course here.

5. Mindshift

Another course developed by Dr. Barabara Oakley is this course: Mindshift. If you’re planning to take the course Learning How To Learn, this one builds off of that popular course. Overall, it’s meant to help learners boost their career and life by shifting their mindset to a learning one.

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Dr. Oakley firmly believes that any person can train themselves to learn at any stage in life. She believes that from personal experiences but also how this course is designed. Through this course, you learn how to be seeking out mentors to learn from, how to avoid common learning pitfalls, career ruts, and the general ruts in life.

By the end of this 4-week program, you’ll have access to new tools and strategies to face any career challenge and seek better methods to surmount new learning curves.

Enrol in the course here.

6. De-Mystifying Mindfulness

Mindfulness is something that we’ve all been trying to obtain in recent years and people are noticing it. Whether we strive for this for therapy, lifestyle choice, or for other technology, many of us consider this a pastime we do in solitude at this point.

But despite the number of us practicing mindfulness, not many of us fully grasp it. De-Mystifying Mindfulness is a course designed to help people get up to speed with it through various methods. This course gathers information from various disciplines in science, social sciences and humanities to help unlock and understand mindfulness in its various forms.

This is a truly unique course as it’s rooted in experiential learning mixed with evidence base of what mindfulness can do to people. And a conceptual base of what mindfulness might actually be.

Enrol in the course here.

7. Achieving Personal And Professional Success Specialization

The best way to explain what Achieving Personal And Professional Success Specialization is. is that it’s four of the most popular courses taught by Wharton School, the University of Pennsylvania wrapped into one Specialization. Through these four courses, you’ll be able to maximize your potential and be more successful in both personal and professional life. You’ll learn various techniques and exercises that this school teaches.

Going into more detail the four courses consist of these four:

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  • Success – learn about defining goals, understand how goals connect to long-term images of yourself.
  • Communication skills – tools to improve communication with others. You’ll also learn to take other people’s perspectives, where trust comes from, and build relationships.
  • Leading the Life you want – skills that allow you to lead in the four domains of life: work, home, community, and private.
  • Influence – how to develop it and become more effective in achieving organizational goals.

Enrol in the course here.

8. Think Again

Reasoning is another important aspect of life. Think Again is all about teaching you how to reason and argue well with people without raising your voice and getting flustered. It’s four short courses that explore the logic behind arguments, how we construct arguments and deconstruct them, how to identify and evaluate arguments, and what makes a good argument.

Specifically, you’ll learn about the vital rules to be following in thinking about any topic at all and common and tempting mistakes that people fall into all the time when providing reasoning.

Enrol in the course here.

9. Neuroplasticity

Amongst the scientific and psychology circles, this has become quite the buzzword: Neuroplasticity. The concept promises to rewire our brain and improve everything from health and mental wellbeing to our quality of life. Gregory Caremans teaches the concept of Neuroplasticity and how you can take action and use this to your advantage in the course Neuroplasticity. Through it, you can develop mental flexibility, change habits, stop procrastination and even alter memories.

Gregory is a psychologist with a Master’s in communication and is specialized in Neurocognitive and Behavioral Approach. And even though he comes from a complex field, his course is instructed in such a way that you can easily use this information and apply it in your daily life.

Enrol in the course here.

10. Become A SuperLearner® 2

Similar to Learning How To Learn, this Udemy course Become A SuperLearner® 2 is all about learning faster and unlocking the vast potential of your mind. This course is different though in that it focuses more on improving your ability to learn new skills, provide advanced memory techniques, long-term retention and application of information.

Another way to think about this course is that it looks into cognitive and neurological factors that make learning easier and more successful with longer retention of information.

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Enrol in the course here.

11. Get Beyond Work-Life Balance

The final course on the list is Get Beyond Work-Life Balance. As this course suggests, this is all about getting skills that help you to achieve balance and have effectiveness in both aspects of your life. This applies to both people in leadership roles and for individuals.

The course focuses a lot on the importance of inclusive leadership in creating flexible and productive work environments. Beyond this, the course provides a lot of research and real-work examples from various situations to deliver information and strategies you can apply in your life.

Enrol in the course here.

Final Thoughts

There are all kinds of courses that you can use to further enhance your life – be it personal or professional. And the beauty of personal development courses is the fact they are designed to be applied in your life more readily. You can begin to see the impact and change when applying this information from courses to real life.

As such, we encourage you to try out these courses. They could very well change your life.

Featured photo credit: Annie Spratt via unsplash.com

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