10 Steps to Cultivate Lifelong Learning

Monday, April 02, 2018


10 Steps to Cultivate Lifelong Learning

Hey there!



1.                   Clean out your input

Some forms of learning, such as blogs and online articles, are easier to mentally digest compared to books and paper. However, they often lack substance. Blogs and news websites can be a good source of information and ideas; however, they tend to be inflated with advertisements and articles that you often skim and skip over. You can only read about a penanghouse for rent so many times before you automatically skip through it on autopilot. Thus, you should make it a point to regularly clean out your learning input. This keeps your intellectual input sources more substantial and of more substance. Purify your input by keeping and focusing only on what counts.

2.                   Always have a book

Reading is one of the easiest ways to continuously learn. However, not all of us can set aside an hour or so each day to read. To combat this, make a few conscious decisions to subtly and subconsciously push your literary effort forward. It doesn’t matter if you’re a slow or fast reader. Sometimes all of us can benefit from a bit of gentle prodding. You can try to always have one book that you are currently reading. Make it a habit to keep the book on your person so that you are reminded to finish the book. This also allows you to read it whenever you have some free time on your hands. The few minutes in-between activities can add up to a lot, and this can help you reach your reading goals.

3.                   Keep a “to-Learn” list

We have all heard of to-do lists. These are a list of tasks we want to accomplish. However, have you heard of a to-learnlist? You can keep a list of ideas for new areas to study. This could be a new language, a new skill or even a new reading endeavor. Keep a list of current ideas you want to explore and expand and add to the list as you go along. This keeps your learning goals physically manifested and at the forefront of your mind.

4.                   Remember to think

Reading widely and diversely is a good way of learning something new. However, reading too much and thinking too little cognitively handicaps you as well. Avoid just simply reading and studying the wisdom of others and remember that you need to think critically and analytically yourself. After you have learned something new, spend some time researching, questioning and contemplating the ideas that you have learned.

5.                   Unlearn assumptions

An empty mind is easily filled to the brim. However, a mind that is too full is hard to add to. So too is a mind that is too rigid and inflexible. We all have our convictions formed by different things: from our faith, from our ideas, from our education, etc. However, convictions that are too many or too rigid means fewer paths to accept and explore new ideas. As the saying goes, you can’t add water to a full cup. Thus, for each idea you come by, try to maintain a distance from it. Learn to actively seek out information that offers a contradicting angle to your own personal viewpoint.

6.                   Start a project

Not sure how you should start your learning effort? Why don’t you start a project about something you don’t know about? Venture into the unknown. Take that leap of faith! If you don’t know anything about computers, try building one from scratch. Projects like that will force you to learn in a way that is still fun and challenging.

7.                   Follow your intuition

Lifelong learning is a journey in and of itself. There is never a specific expectation or a well-defined end goal. You can compare lifelong learning to wandering through the wilderness. A compass can guide you, but you have to know your own destination. We all have to learn to trust our intuition, for often it is our intuition that guides us the best. Thus, learn to live outside of completely logical decisions and add a bit of whimsy into your learning choices. For in lifelong learning and your journey of self-education, nothing you learn is wrong: any new knowledge is a valuable asset.

8.                   The morning fifteen

We are often the most alert and the most attentive in the morning. This is when our brains are freshly recharged. Thus, try to devote the first fifteen minutes of your morning to your learning endeavors. If you find yourself not much of a morning person, wait a short while for the grogginess to leave you. Don’t wait until later in the day. Get your learning out of the way before other more urgent activities pop up and warrant your attention.

9.                   Put it into practice and reap the rewards

Information that you learn can and should be put to good use. Learning new skills is useless unless you apply it! Put the languages that you’ve learned onto your resume. Utilize your newly learned skills to handle projects that other people would require outside help with. If the knowledge you’ve obtained can be applied, put it into practice. Then reap your rewards with the pride it deserves when your educational efforts are put to good use.

10.               The voice within

Our yearning to learn is seldom persuaded or influenced by external forces. This desire has to come from within you. You hold the keys to your own destiny. Thus, you need to make it a priority in your life Once you have decided that you want to make lifelong learning one of your life’s goals, the rest is still up to you.

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