I do not think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday.
This great phrase from Abraham Lincoln is more important today than ever and perfectly represents the concept of lifelong learning.
Formal education has a beginning and an end but personal learning is a never-ending journey. Lifelong learning is the only way to succeed in the dynamic environment which we live today. However, lifelong learning not only provides benefits for your career, it can also help you to reach your full potential. This can help you achieve self-actualisation, the top level of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs:
When we talk about learning in this context, we’re not referring to continuing education in the same field you have already studied. This is just one option open to you. Lifelong learning can mean following your passion for languages, developing your first mobile app or even improving your musical or artistic skills. The only requirement is to learn something new every day throughout your life.
10 Ways to Engage in Lifelong Learning
There is an infinite number of ways you can engage in lifelong learning to achieve your goal. Watch the video below for a quick overview for free (or low cost) ways to implement this method:
Here’s a summary of the video:
- Read widely and often
- Keep smart company
- Teach others
- Keep a list of things you want to explore
- Start your own project
- Use a personal learning environment
- Experiment with new ways to learn
- Join a study group
- Find a job that encourages learning and collaboration
- Make it a priority!
These ideas are not mutually exclusive so try everything and see what works best for you by reinforcing your learning.
Characteristics of Lifelong Learners
Although lifelong learning is something which in theory everyone should practice, some personality types will find the process easier to commit to. Common characteristics of lifelong learners include:
Want to know if you have these characteristics? Take this simple test to check:
If you still feel as though you don’t identify with some of the characteristics outlined above, begin to experiment with different activities that you enjoy and research how you can learn more in that area.