When we think about learning, it is usually constrained to the earlier sections of our life, when we are young and receiving education in a structured way such as going to school or university. However the truth is we are always learning, all throughout our lives – only many of us slow down and forget to really apply ourselves to this. There is so much to be learned that exceeds school, and there are some things that you can only fully appreciate once you get older.
Lifelong learning incorporates many different things including formal training and classes and reading, as well as just listening to people who have more life experience to draw upon. You can take up a community class to discover new life skills such as cooking or writing, or simply try reading through a blog post or news article every day. Even just browsing Wikipedia is a form of learning. Of course, we do these kinds of things all the time, but the difference is turning them into a habit so that the process of learning is stronger and can be built on further and further.
Some habits to get into for lifelong learning include:
- Going to the library more often. Although life is busy, a good goal is one book per week and make sure you actually read what you borrow. This can be fiction, nonfiction or even a graphic novel – in fact, a variety is better.
- Making an effort to go to local talks and speeches. These are happening all the time, produced by different local groups and visiting speakers. You can keep an eye out on Facebook and on the newspapers for these events as they happen. Even if it’s not something you would normally be interested in, you may find yourself with a new passion.
- Taking up classes and lessons. There are many options available for older learners, and to fit all types of schedules and lifestyles. Sometimes it can be difficult to learn without a structured environment, so these can be a good way to get focused.
Lifelong learning is something we all do, but without proper effort the results can be limited. Although there’s no need for the rigidity and structure of school, there are still many different ways you can push yourself to really make a difference, and become a more learned person all through your life.