Learning matters in living a full and rich life. You can take your passing interest in art and explore it more deeply. You can also improve your career prospects by learning new skills. To discover the benefits of lifelong learning, read on.
1. They expand their library of books regularly.
As businessman Jim Rohn remarked, “Some people read so little they have rickets of the mind.” People with non-stop learning are often found browsing for books on Amazon, visiting their local library or book stores. Lifelong learners also ask friends and family for book suggestions, especially for non-fiction titles.
Tip: To reach your goals faster, choose books that relate to your goals: 15 Inspiring Books Every Leader Should Not Miss.
2. They take the time to ask questions when they take courses
Deep engagement with learning makes the experience more valuable and easier to remember. Fortunately, this tip is easy to use. Simply take a few minutes during a class break to write down some questions about the material. If you are taking a business course, you can always ask questions about how to apply the material to your career goals.
If you are uncomfortable asking questions in front of other people, there are other options. You can send questions by email or ask for an appointment to discuss the matter in depth.
3. They learn to earn
Continuing education is vital to maintain your career growth. Lifelong learners view their education as a portfolio with several components. For example, project management professionals are required to pursue ongoing education in three areas: leadership, technical knowledge and management.
If you are seeking to increase your income, consider learning sales and marketing skills. Those skills make a great difference even if you are not in a traditional sales job.
4. They enjoy deeply exploring their interests and hobbies.
In the pursuit of the good life, lifelong learners know that career enhancement is not the only part of the picture. Foodies can explore their appreciation by taking wine courses or improving their cooking skills (I have enjoyed taking wine courses at George Brown College in Toronto). In addition, there is much to be said for studying music, drawing and other creative efforts.
5. They enjoy the social aspect of learning.
By taking a course or attending a seminar, lifelong learners are exposed to other highly motivated people. It is sometimes difficult to find people who share a passion for lifelong learning. That’s why in-person learning is worth the price: the experience includes exposure to lifelong learners. There is also much to be said for the positive energy and excitement you can learn from a conference.
6. They use what they learn to improve their lives.
Lifelong learners know that reading a good book on productivity, leadership or stress management is only the first step. If they read a productivity book such as “Getting Things Done” by David Allen, they know the value lies in application. Successful lifelong learners learn how to use the Weekly Review to improve their personal organization.
7. They know how to pursue lifelong learning on a budget
They know there are many different ways to acquire new knowledge and some of them are very easy to afford. For an easy to read introduction to a topic, I suggest reading a “For Dummies” book. I have found them a great way to learn new technology skills. There are also a wealth of resources available through many public libraries. Many public libraries provide access to traditional books, digital books, and video courses.
More learning options for learning on a budget:
Udemy.com: This online learning platform is known to provide frequent sales and discounts on courses covering technology (e.g. Microsoft Excel) , business skills, personal development.
Coursera.org: You can take over 1,000 college/university level courses for free through this website. There are specializations offered in Data Science, Data Mining, Cybersecurity and other fields.
Clarity.FM: Have you ever wanted to get answers and advice directly from experienced business professionals? That’s what you can get from Clarity.FM. I have used this platform to obtain advice on online marketing and growing my email list.
8. They know how to learn from conversations with experienced people
Books, courses and other traditional forms of learning are effective. Yet, one must admit their limits – there is little interaction or customization. That’s why there is great learning value in speaking with a skilled person at length. A live interaction gives you the ability to learn and build a relationship at the same time.
To make the most out of a learning meeting with another person, take the time to prepare. Specifically, read about the person’s background and accomplishments (e.g. read their articles and books and their Linkedin profile). In addition, come prepared with a written list of questions. Finally, plan to pay for the lunch or dinner with the expert.
9. They know how to use journals and reflection to learn from their mistakes and errors
Everyone makes mistakes, even lifelong learners dedicated to learning a better way to reach their goals. That’s where reflection and journals come to play. For example, if you take a risk at work and it blows up, take the time to review the activity. Take twenty minutes (or more) to write in a journal about the experience. Ask yourself what lessons you can draw from the mistake. What would you have done differently? How could you have prepared better for the experience? Reflecting on your mistakes transforms them into valuable learning experiences.
For more inspiration on the benefits of keeping a journal, read these articles from Lifehack.org:
10. They schedule time for learning on their calendar
Successful people dedicated to lifelong learning understand that they must allocate serious time to learning. One approach is to spend an hour every morning on study – dedicating an hour every day to work on your skills puts you into the ranks of top performers. In addition, some people use one lunch hour per week to attend a webinar, read a book or work on another educational activity.
Featured photo credit: Young adult girl reading book near the window. via shutterstock.com