The Power of Being a Continuous Learner

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In a generation that is constantly evolving and fostering new creations, it is extremely useful to be able to adapt oneself to this current transformative culture of technological innovation. We have the privilege of having so much information readily available at our fingertips that we tend to forget the ways to efficiently utilize these resources. 

Learning is a continuous process, one that never ends, and letting knowledge and wisdom enrich every area of our lives unlocks opportunities for us to be used to our fullest potential. Below, we will discuss the importance of learning and ways to effectively embrace a mindset of continuous learning.

The Mindset Shift

To change the way we learn, we must first change our preconceived notions about what it actually is. Too often, people associate learning with unpleasant experiences or memories, which can negatively impact the way we see learning.

Instead, we must shift our personal beliefs to a positive and growth-oriented approach, to change the behavior we want to see reflected. Here are some strategies to help redefine what learning is:

  1. Understand the Value of Learning - Acquiring knowledge has an effect that is not always instant or immediately recognizable, and it’s important to know that. Parts of the education we strive for, may never come to be used, but having that pool of knowledge to pull from can be advantageous in the workforce and everyday life. You never know what skills will be required and necessary, but investing time and energy into learning builds a discipline that can carry over into other aspects of your life. By embracing learning as a lifelong journey, it helps us remain intellectually engaged and open to endless possibilities. 
  2. Prioritize Intellectual Wellness - Intellectual health is fundamentally just as important as the physical, emotional, and spiritual. When we use our brains to learn, we improve our mental stimulation, neural connections, critical thinking, and problem solving just to name a few. Similarly to working out, when we “exercise” our brains like we would our physical bodies, it becomes strengthened in order to preserve cognitive ability. It is not always about the facts but rather training our minds to think. When we expose ourselves to different ideas and perspectives, this also enhances our creativity and originality. 
  3. Strive for Progress, Not Perfection - An inevitable outcome to learning are the innumerable amounts of times we will mess up. We know this from Einstein's well known quote: “Anyone who has never made a mistake, has never tried anything new.” Yet, it comes so easily for all of us to feel discouraged and unmotivated at times. That reveals where the focus lies. Yes, striving for excellence and setting high standards and goals for yourself are great, but it’s also important to be realistic and reasonable. Don’t forget to celebrate ALL wins, no matter the size, a win is a win, and acknowledging the time and effort that was put in helps shift our focus from reaching perfection to progress. 
  4. Nurture Your Curiosity - Education is simply not limited to the classroom. Oftentimes, people just don’t have the motivation or intrinsic desire to learn. However, like any other discipline, it may come more easily for some while requiring considerable effort from others. As we said earlier, changing behavior requires changing belief, and so approaching how you learn with an open mind and willing heart helps cultivate a thirst and appetite for learning. This can also be a great time to discover what drives and fuels you to be curious. It could be personal growth, career advancement, or pursuing an interest, whatever it is, find and explore it. 
  5. Reflect and Improve - Learning from experience allows you to reflect and see what went wrong and what worked best. The past is something that teaches us so much, but it’s not a place that we should dwell in. That will only hinder the learning that is in store for us, so instead, use the past as a tool and stepping stone to get to the next objective. Not only do we learn valuable lessons, but we become an encouragement and person of counsel for others.

One thing to take note of is that this process does not happen overnight. It will take an immense amount of consistency, patience, and compassion towards yourself and others.

Tools to Deepen Your Learning

Whatever area it is that you want to learn a skill in, whether it’s learning a language, how to code, or how to create a resume, there is a resource out there for you. These tools help you acquire new knowledge, grow your personal skill set, and engage your brain in ways that work best for you. Here are some examples:

  • Online courses: Khan Academy, Coursera, edX, and Udemy are some websites that offer a variety of different courses, certifications, and degrees. Some of these can also be personalized to fit your schedule and learning style. 
  • Books and E-books: Even though books may be a bit outdated for this generation, these traditional resources hold so much valuable information that may come in handy. Again, there is so much diversity, ranging from best business practices to cookbooks to short stories and poetry. 
  • Podcasts and Audiobooks: For auditory learners, this is a perfect alternative to consume content in a very convenient and effective way. There is practically every topic imaginable, allowing you to learn passively as you multitask. 
  • Online Tutorials and YouTube: For those who learn visually, this method probably resonates more with you. From concept explanations to how-to videos, there is virtually a video for everything. 
  • Online Forums and Communities: Facebook groups, LinkedIn, Reddit, and Quora are a few examples of ways to engage with a community of learners and experts. It’s important to be aware that not everything on these platforms may necessarily be true, however, they can address more specific subjects or interests. There is also more likely the chance of discussions, collaborations, and knowledge sharing from like-minded people.

The possible resources are not exclusive to the options above, but they are rather suggestions for where to start. For some people, a combination of the methods may also work better and be more productive.

What is the Next Step for Me?

Find Out Your Learning Style 

  • Take multiple learning style quizzes or tests
  • Look at the results and compare them to other tests
  • Write down your strengths and weaknesses
  • Keep track of your accomplishments and small wins

Make a Decision 

  • Set SMART goals for your learning every week 
  • Explore your hobbies and interests more passionately 
  • Ask questions! That’s how you learn!

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