First of all, what is lifelong learning and why is continuous learning important in life? The purpose of this article is to help convince you that becoming a learner for life can be a wonderful experience. Personally, I love it when I learn new stuff everyday and I’m looking forward to learn more each and every day for the rest of my life. I plan to commit myself to books, courses, trainings, and videos because these materials help me to become a better person. If you’re interested and you have a passion for learning new things, then I can help you with that.
For the Love of Learning
I remember that at one point in time I was not really inclined to reading books. In fact, I hated it because it was too long and took days for me to finish. I simply didn’t want to invest my time on books to learn. And then one time, I forced myself to read and finish a book. That book was Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki, which is a business book that teaches the subject of money. I never thought that it was the beginning for my love of books (particularly self-help books)
Browsing articles on the internet also became my hobby because its length is manageable enough compared to reading a 200+ page book. Also, I love videos because it is very interactive in nature. There are sources of free videos such as YouTube which helps to educate you especially in the Internet Age. Because we are in this time at life where information is free, there is no reason for me not to open a material everyday in order to learn new things. My excitement has just gotten to a higher level. After sharing my awesome tips with you, I hope you will feel the same.
My Awesome List of Tips
Because I can’t stand to wait anymore, I’m now going to provide you with my wonderful list in order for you to get started. As an advocate of learning, I will share with you the most effective tips that I know which are applied by the most successful people on this planet. Are you ready to receive my tips? (No, we’re not in a restaurant)
- Have a Very Strong Motivation
Motivation gives you the energy and the drive to do the things you want. I may provide you the tips and techniques to become a learner, but if you lack motivation, you will just plain quit along the way. I love it when I go to the bookstore and see all the books that I want to read. The reason why I want to read a lot of books (particularly about business) is because I have a goal of running a big business. I want to educate myself on the subject before I step up to the plate.
So how about you, what makes you motivated? Maybe you have a goal you want to achieve, say, you want to lose weight and live healthy or you want to learn how to become a good leader. Or maybe, you have a passion for cooking or gardening. Or simply, you just want to get promoted. All of that are sources of motivation and will definitely propel you towards success.
- Discover your Own, Unique Learning Style
Just be yourself. Don’t be pressured to change into someone that you are not. You in your most original form are just fine. Now what you need to do is to discover who you truly are by assessing how you learn effectively. People are unique and no two persons are created equal, not even twins. You may ask them, but they will each share some different points of view of the world.
Whatever your perspective may be, please take your time to discover who you truly are. Maybe you are a self-learner (known as autodidact) who loves reading books. Maybe you learn effectively in a classroom style environment. Maybe you are more of a hands-on person who prefer actual experience. Once you find out the nature of learning you’re most effective at, then use it to your advantage.
- Sharpen your Mind
It really helps that you upgrade your learning skills if ever you have the time. What I mean is that you invest on things that will help you learn more effectively, such as enhancing your memory, learning how to do speed reading, improving your focus, eating the right foods, listening to relaxing music, and so on. You might be saying, “It’s a waste of time and money”, but I strongly believe that it counts.
I actually bought materials on how to improve my learning skills, one was a book about Speed Reading and another was a book named “Learn More, Study Less” by Scott H. Young. At first, I was asking myself a lot of times, “Do I really need these books? Can’t I just proceed to other books? Why bother?” But in the end, I bought both books, and I wasn’t disappointed. It actually has helped me a lot.
- Tap into Books, Audio, Videos, Seminars, etc.
The world is full of information and is continually increasing at a rate faster than what we can consume in our entire lifetime. I’ve read from somewhere that if you take all the books on the shelves and read it 24/7 without taking a break, it would actually take more than 500 years just to finish it (considering the average reading speed). Now that’s a huge load of information! But we’re not just limited to books, we have other resources such as audiobooks, videos, online courses, seminars, and so much more that we can consume everyday. Plus, a lot of them are FREE.
What I’m saying is that these resources are already provided to you. You just have to go get it and consume it. I promise you, when you start to learn new things, your life will change. When I upgraded my learning abilities by buying those two books, I’ve had a better understanding of how I could develop myself and become a better learner. Reading both books just made me so excited to learn more.
- Learn and Master the Basics
Simple beats complex. However though, a lot of people believe that in order to be good at something, they must learn all the sophisticated stuff to impress people with their knowledge. In my opinion, the simpler the approach, the better. You don’t want to overwhelm yourself with complicated stuff in the beginning because it impedes your progress in learning the subject/skill. For example, a total newbie on blogging will not want to mess up with PPC, SEO and Web Analytics right away. Yes, it’s important, but it should not be your first priority.
Yes, learn the technical stuff and the advanced topics, but make sure you have laid out your foundation of the subject first. Understanding the basics can go a long way once you’ve mastered it. Like in juggling, practice juggling 2 balls first, master it, and then go for 3. After which you go for 4, 5, 6, until you have so much balls to juggle that it feels nothing at all. That’s how you learn effectively throughout time, by focusing first on the basics.
- Develop the Habit of Curiosity
We are always observing the world everyday whether we like it or not. We look at the food we eat, we listen to everyday conversations, we choose the things we buy, and many more real life stuff that we seem to do automatically. So the next time you do routine things like these, stop and think for a while and see if you can observe these stuff from a different perspective. Whenever I visit someone in the hospital, I learn about the ailment and all the types of medical equipment that are used inside the room. When I go to the supermarket, I learn all the brand names that I see in the food shelf.
Our everyday experiences serve as a great source of learning once we open our mind and start thinking of it. It’s not pretty much about the facts like what we read in textbooks, but rather it’s the amount of thought that we put into it that matters. Albert Einstein said, “Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of the mind to think”. Develop the habit of curiosity and you will discover wonderful things in life.
- Teach other People what you’ve learned
This is a double-sided learning approach. Not only do you teach your knowledge to others, but you also learn what you’re teaching. This is how I learn things when I was in college. Whenever my friends want me to do a favor and teach them something, I’m always glad to help them because I know for sure that it has a mutual effect. It strengthens my knowledge about the subject and at the same time helps others with their studies.
Maybe you have something you want to learn for yourself, but somehow have a hard time processing it to your head. My advice is you share it to others. I notice that when I teach others, I discover some insights that I otherwise wouldn’t have thought. One more reason why you should develop your teaching skills is because as a lifelong learner, your mission is to share your wisdom with the rest of the world and become a role model to others so that you can encourage them to join you in the quest for lifelong education.
- Apply it in Real Life
Perhaps this is the most effective advice that I could give you on how to become an effective learner. Taking action on what you’ve set out to learn and applying it in real life is the best way to learn any subject or skill. According to the Cone of Learning, doing the real thing is the best way to retain what you learn in your brain. You will learn more in the real setting because you are exposed to making mistakes especially when you’re just getting started. You will receive feedback that serves as your learning experience which will in turn make you a better person.
If you don’t understand all these, that’s fine. After all, the most important thing is simply to do stuff. Find ways to apply what you’ve learned from reading or watching videos and remember to take action on it. If you find an opportunity in which you could test your skills, then grab it. Volunteer in a project, create stuff, apply for a job that will enable you to learn a lot, or anything that would move you forward in life. Always remember, action always beats inaction.
- Commit Yourself to Continuous Learning and Never Stop
The most important word to take away here is commitment. Once you become a lifetime student, never stop doing it because the rewards will pay off sooner or later. I like to think of learning as an investment in which you invest your time, money, and effort to learning the subject or skill. Then after sticking to it for a long time, you will reap its benefits and the rewards are awesome. I have no intention of stopping now because life has just gotten more exciting for me.
In fact, if you look at the most successful people today such as Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, you’ll be surprised to learn that they, while already successful, are still reading and attending conferences up to this moment. The average person only reads about less than one book a year, whereas the average CEO reads about 60 books per year. When I learned about that, I was inspired and started to follow their footsteps. The bottomline is that successful people make it a habit to learn and they commit their entire lives to it. So if you want to become very successful like these guys, pick a book and start reading.
- Enjoy the Process and Have Fun!
Just have fun! This is the most important tip of all. Whatever subject or skill you immerse yourself into, enjoy the process. What’s the point to learning if you’re not happy doing it? The reason why you become a lifelong learner is to make life better, not worse. If you feel that you’re not having fun with reading, then stop doing it. If you’re not comfortable with learning how to cook, then don’t force yourself to do it. Only do the things that you love.
That term is called passion. Yes, passion is important if you wish to succeed in the long run because it drives people to become successful. Most of us are familiar with Steve Jobs’ quote: “The only way to do great work is to love what you do.” He said that because that’s what he did to become successful, therefore we should follow him. And always remember, just have fun and enjoy the ride.
Your Journey Starts Here
Graduation is not the end of your learning. In fact it’s just the beginning. No matter where you are in life, the truth is you are always learning something. Learning is an important part of our lives and is required for our personal and professional growth. At first, it would feel like hard work, but when one gets used to it, it seems pretty routine and automatic. When I was starting out, I had a hard time developing the habit. But right now, my mind is itching to grab a book or read an article because I couldn’t stand a single day of my life without learning something new.
I guarantee you that you’ll be 10 times more successful when you educate yourself. Think of it as an investment, where the returns are phenomenal. Instead of buying stocks, bonds, or real estate, you are going to invest in your #1 asset: your mind. You have an unlimited potential that is locked within your mind. Tapping into it will absolutely make your life better in myriad different ways.
Well, that’s it. These are my 10 awesome tips on how to become a lifelong learner. Do you love to learn new stuff? Are you doing some of the tips that I posted above? Let me know your opinion on the subject by leaving a comment below. Also, if you have some awesome tips you can add to this blog, I hope you could share them as well. Thanks again and good luck with becoming a lifelong student!