Reasons why continuous learning is an essential life skill
Well, who would have imagined the world that we have come to know over the past few weeks and months?
(Well Bill Gates did back in 2015 – have you seen his TedTalk? His words are haunting given their precision to what we are currently experiencing)
In these times of unprecedented public health, economic and social transformation something that is opening itself as an opportunity is TIME. With less external social distractions and us all being asked to practice #socialdistancing we can CHOOSE what to do with some of this extra time available to us.
My pitch to you is take this TIME as an opportunity to reflect and act on your Learning journey.
For many when we think of Learning – our minds are cast back to years in a classroom, information fired at us on WHAT to learn, but little focus placed on HOW we learn.
The truth of the matter is – Learning is essential to our existence. Learning provides information and perspective to our minds which in today’s world is essential nourishment.
In today’s working and even personal aspects of life – continuous learning, curiosity and development is essential to our critical thinking and even mental resilience. It enables us to continuously discovery the people, concepts and developments of the world around us.
What is continuous learning?
“The beautiful thing about learning is nobody can take it away from you.” – B.B. King
Continues learning is a gift that you give yourself. It is your willingness to be curious to the things you know and even don’t know. This can be on a personal level, professional or functional expertise level. It has the ability to enable you to reach your full potential personally and professionally.
But how can continuous learning benefit me?
- Build your self-awareness?
When was the last time you took a moment to reflect on your interests, hobbies? Do you know what it is you enjoy the most and that brings you the most contentment and happiness?
Opening yourself up to learning the things that you enjoy the most or even reflecting on this very question can be the beginning of your self-awareness of continuous learning.
- Keeps you relevant
Do you know the latest trends or think tank within your industry or profession? Keeping abreast of industry trends and adapting to the needs of changing environments will keep you competitive and always learning. Don’t end up like KODAK (Read here how KODAK failed to evolve and so was left behind)
- Prepares you for change and the unexpected
According to The Guardian, nearly 20% of the global population is under a COVID-19 lockdown. This is unprecedented times with uncharted waters ahead. Sadly, for many this will impact jobs and employment. Lifelong learning can help you adapt to unexpected changes, such as, losing your job and having to depend on new skills to find work. By continuing to learn, you’ll more easily step out of your comfort zone and take on new job opportunities.
- Builds your confidence and superpower
What’s your superpower?
Jim Kwik’s ssuperpower is learning. The ability to learn quickly is a distinct and powerful competitive advantage in business. It enables all success in a fast paced and fast changing world. (Read about Jim Kwik’s incredible journey here. A truly inspiring illustration of the power and confidence that learning HOW to learn can bring)
- Ignite the spark that lies beneath the surface
“Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death.” ― Albert Einstein
Existing within each of us is the ability to continuously learn about ourselves, our interests, our careers and professional development and about the world around us.
We each have our own spark that is unique to us and through learning we learn to ignite that spark. Not only that but continuously learning enables us to keep that flame alive ready to take on challenges and even explore new business ventures.
- Elevate your profile
You’ve probably heard it often before – successful people are always learning. If you’ve not heard this before then now you know!!!
Successful people have understood the benefits and power of always learning and its’ impact on raising their own profile and capability. (How Successful People Learn: 5 Simple Rules Everyone Should Follow)
10 things you can start doing now to become a lifelong and continuous learner
1. Read widely and often
2. Keep smart company
3. Teach others
4. Keep a list of things you want to explore
5. Start your own project
6. Use a personal learning environment
7. Experiment with new ways to learn
8. Join a study group
9. Find a job that encourages learning and collaboration
10. Make it a priority!
Resources for continued learning:
Why not try out even one of the suggestions below and begin your learning and continuous (e)learning journey today.
For Inspiration: Online Course Providers, Reading and Listening Platforms
Coursera – Choose from hundreds of online courses on everything from negotiation tactics to analyzing big data. Classes are free, as long as you don’t need a certificate of completion.
International Open Academy (IOA) – IOA is your one-stop shop for professional development, personal growth, and goal fulfilment.
Udemy – is an online learning and teaching marketplace with over 100000 courses and 24 million students. Learn programming, marketing, data science and much more.
Udemy for Business – is now available for organizations to bring digital and easily accessible learning to their peoples’ fingertips.
EdX – Is a massive open online course (MOOC) provider. It hosts online university-level courses in a wide range of disciplines to a worldwide student body, including some courses at no charge.
Degreed – This lifelong learning platform lets you track and curate learning materials from thousands of platforms, like Coursera, Audible and DuoLingo. You select your learning goals, and Degreed suggests content to steer you in the right direction.
MIT Open CourseWare – A catalogue of free courses and learning resources from MIT’s archive.
Ted Ideas – Ted-like essays on creativity, leadership, innovation and global issues.
Podcasts can be a great way to learn about a new topic, keep up with current affairs or your industry trends. Read here a review of Best Educational podcasts in 2020.
“You never change your life until you step out of your comfort zone; change begins at the end of your comfort zone.” ― Roy T. Bennett