When college was over it felt good and liberating.
I was always curious and loved learning but I hated the way education was done in schools. Most of the time I learned things because I had to. When a topic interested me, the learning experience became unpleasant because of the way the subject was taught. On the other hand, when learning was fun and exciting, it was always thanks to a small number of teachers I liked and admired, who inspired me and pushed me to do more. Unfortunately, those were exceptions. So, when school ended, I was happy to discover it was only one of the ways to learn new things.
In time I became a strong believer of the concept of lifelong learning and understood we don’t stop learning as school stops, but we continue to grow day by day.
Lifelong learning is about creating and maintaining a positive attitude towards learning both for personal and professional growth. People who chose to learn throughout their lives are motivated to learn and develop because they want to – it is an intended and voluntary act.
Continuous learning enhances our understanding of the world, provides us with more and better opportunities and improves our lives. By doing so we get more personal satisfaction from our lives and jobs as we become more self aware and we better understand who we are and what we do.
On a professional level, the act of constant learning leads to better results and to more rewarding work. When we learn something new, or something from a complementary field, we create new opportunities for ourselves, we can earn more or move to a connected industry. In turn, this gives us wider experience on which to build our knowledge and more transferable skills in readiness for the next step in our career.
One of the best parts of the period we live in, is that information is available to us anytime we want and we can access it for free from our computers and phones. There are thousands of books, online courses, MOOCs, professional development programs, podcasts, and other resources with excellent knowledge for us to grasp, making it easier than ever to make a habit of lifelong learning.
Another way to learn is from the experiences we go through, good or bad, happy or sad.
We learn from the awful firsts jobs just as much as we learn from the fun and exciting ones. We learn things from colleagues we don’t like and are forced to work with and we learn from friends and people we admire and respect. At every step and every juncture in life, there is the opportunity to learn — and even if the lesson is purely remedial, we must not let ego block us from hearing it again.
One of my favorite alternative ways of learning is through conversations with other people. Talking to people and actively listening to what they have to say is a great way to learn about how the world works, to feel more connected and less scared of our own experiences.
Lastly, I believe learning feeds our spirit. It gives us purpose and keeps us focused, it fuels our sense of fulfillment.
So, read a book on a topic you know next to nothing about. Put yourself in situations where you’re not the smartest person in the room. Say I don’t know if it’s so and give your ego some days off.
Oh, and that uncomfortable feeling, that defensiveness you feel when your most deeply held beliefs are challenged — how about subjecting yourself to it deliberately?
Change your surroundings and allow yourself to change your mind.
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*this article was first published as a guest post on Careeba.com