By Andrea Vavruch
The whole of life is learning, therefore education can have no endings – Eduard Lindeman, 1926
Some people think that learning should end when you graduate, that once you are out of the formal education system, you can stop developing your skills and knowledge. But whether your enrol in formal classes or simply learn on your own from books or the internet, there are many reasons why being a lifelong learner is a great idea.
Open new career doors
Lifelong learning will broaden your horizons and give you new opportunities. This is most easily witnessed in your career. Consider your career path – where do you want to be in five years’ time? What skills will you need to get there? Make an effort now to start learning those skills so that when opportunities for promotion arise, you will have an edge on other candidates. Not only will you already have some of the new skills you would need to perform the job, but your boss will be impressed by your demonstrated willingness to step out of your comfort zone and take on new challenges.
Keep your brain healthy
Studies have shown that keeping your mind active is an excellent way to keep it healthy. Mental challenges may help to prevent Alzheimer’s disease and generally slow age-related memory loss. Learning a new skill and putting it into practice will develop your intellectual capacity and thereby help protect your future self from loss of mental aptitude.
Become more self-sufficient
Learning new skills means not having to ask or hire someone else to do something for you. From basic car maintenance to being able to compose an eloquent business letter, there are many skills that you could easily outsource, but that you could just as easily learn to do yourself. Save yourself a bit of money over the long term and learn to do one of those things that you’re currently paying someone else to do!
Widen your social circle
Joining a class or a group to learn new skills or discuss new ideas will put you in a position to meet new people with similar interests. Learning is a fantastic way to broaden your social horizons. And not only will you make new friends in the actual classes, but you’ll also improve your confidence and become a more interesting person, meaning that you’ll be more interesting to people you come across in all areas of your life.
The best reason for continuing your education is simply that it is fun. An attitude of never being able to learn enough is the adult version of that sense of wonder at the world that young children have. Learning keeps you young. It gives you the opportunity to express your creativity and to avoid the complacency about life that some of us develop as we leave childhood behind and become “grown-ups”. And if you think you don’t have any creativity, then all the more reason to challenge yourself to find it within yourself by signing up for art classes, dance lessons or a photography course.
Being a lifelong learner means never having to put your dreams on the shelf – start today to work towards that thing you’ve always wanted to do and the person you’ve always wanted to be.
Back to SmartyPants Newsletter - June 2011 Edition
This article is published under the Creative Commons Attribution license.