Learning is a lot more than just reading books—it’s an attitude towards life. When you become a lifelong learner you ignite your sense of wonder and you tap into the power of your mind. Use these four practices ways to make learning a part of our everyday life. (Estimated reading time: 4-5 minutes)
“Never stop learning because life never stops teaching.”— Unknown
Our quest for knowledge can be traced to the beginning of civilization. There are many ancient relics that prove this, but one of the most notable is the Library of Alexandria. Founded at the beginning of the 3rd century BC, it was one of the earliest and most sophisticated centers for learning.
As the largest and most significant libraries in the ancient world, it contained over a million scrolls, which included works of the great thinkers of the age such as scientists, mathematicians and poets from various civilizations.
Sadly, it was burned down by zealots during an invasion that was supposedly headed by Julius Caesar. The burning down of the Library of Alexandria is considered to be one of the greatest tragedies in the academic world. Humanity lost incalculable loss of ancient work that could never be retrieved again.
Many years of destruction and senseless warfare, were interspersed with golden eras of enlightenment that marked times of great progress. Science and the arts have particularly flourished over the past two centuries.
Our natural curiosity is a gift of human intelligence. In fact, our brains are incredible works of art. With over 100 billion neurons, it enables us to synthesize, organize and memorize information at rapid speeds. If we learn how to use it correctly, we’ll have access to its unbound potential.
Yet, most of people do not tap into even half of our brain’s potential because they have closed ourselves off to expanding and growing its capacity. They are indifferent to their cerebral powerhouse and how they utilize it. In this way, they miss out becoming a lifelong learner.
The quality of our information diet has declined over the years, with more and more people engaging their minds in superficial topics. Most reality TV shows and celebrity gossip are examples of entertainment sources that are “junk food” for the mind and do not serve us in any way.
Here are three of reasons why the passion for learning has diminished amongst adults today ,and why they consume such a poor information diet:
1. Most professionals are exhausted from their busy and rigorous schedules. After leaving work, all they want to do is switch off their brain by watching TV at home or go to happy hour.
2. Some people believe that they know enough and that they’re done with their learning days. They are your classic know-it-alls whose egos delude them into thinking that no one can teach them something that they don’t already know about.
3. People who live unhealthy lifestyles lose their mental clarity and focus. If we don’t take care of our bodies, our mental capacity to absorb and store information becomes compromised. Unhealthy diets, lack of sleep, consumption of drugs; these all reduce the quality of our thoughts.
Countless studies have proven that one of the biggest indicators of success is a deep love for learning. Successful people are naturally curious and are always on the lookout to improve themselves. They read every day and are dedicated students of their profession.
Becoming a lifelong learner is a lot more than just reading books—it’s an attitude towards life. It’s about nurturing our natural hunger to find out what’s out there and to seek it. It’s about opening our minds to the mysteries of life so that we can grow beyond the limits that we may have placed on our imagination.
When we were kids, we were more in touch with this curious part of ourselves. We were relentless about getting answers to the things we didn’t understand. If you have forgotten what that feels like, simply look into the eyes of any kid and you will be able to see their genuine sense of wonder.
As adults, we too can experience this child-like sense of wonder again. All we need to do to reclaim this part of ourselves is to make learning a fundamental part of our lives.
Here are four ideas on how you can begin doing that:
1. Seek out knowledge in your daily life: We’re fortunate to live in an information age where we can access knowledge with the click of a button. You can now find information outside traditional mediums such as books, audio books, newspapers and magazines. The Internet offers an incredibly vast repository of knowledge that you can easily access for little or no cost.
2. Attend lectures, classes, workshops, events, conferences: There’s no shortage of events in the world where people gather together to learn more about topics that interest them, whether it’s for personal growth or to sharpen their professional skills. The structured format of these events can make learning more effective and also offers opportunities for interaction with like-minded people.
3. Travel more often: Traveling can be one of the most mentally stimulating experiences. Travel expert, Rick Steeves, once said that “travel is rich with learning opportunities and the ultimate souvenir is a broader perspective.” I totally agree. Add your travel goals to your bucket list and try to commit to crossing one or two places every year—you won’t regret it!
4. Seek wisdom from others: The wisdom that we can gain from other people’s experiences can be an invaluable source of learning. If we can find mentors or people who have already succeeded in doing what we dream about, seeking their advice can helps us make leaps of progress. They can teach us strategies and tactics that can help us avoid making common mistakes and get ahead of the game.
I believe that we’re all seekers, trying to find our place in the vast expanse of the Universe. The more knowledgeable we become, the more connected we will feel with our humanity and our purpose in the world as a lifelong learner.
All my best on your journey,
Question for you: What new things would you like to learn about this year? What can you do to ensure that you become a lifelong learner?
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