** How to become your best self through life-long learning contains affiliate links.**
Too often, we associate learning with our experiences in the education system. It’s hard to be your best self in a system designed to reward conformity. But, life-long learning is different. It’s about exploring not conforming.
When you choose to embrace your curiosity and start learning for your own benefit or, just because you want to know, an amazing new world opens before you.
And, the most wonderful thing is you don’t have to go back to the classroom to do it.
Why keep learning?
Learning was always a priority in my home but, I was an awful student. I was bored and generally did only as much as I needed to, to get through it. There was no joy or excitement, only drudgery.
It was only once I’d finished my education, I started learning in earnest. I live by the motto; every day you learn something new, is a good day. Being your best self is a process and the more you expand your mind (and your horizons) the closer you’ll become to being your best self – whatever that means for you.
Becoming Your Best Self
There’s no doubt about it, stimulating your brain by learning new things has a positive impact on other areas of your life. It doesn’t just keep your brain active, it helps your self-esteem and emotional well-being, too.
Taking the time to nourish ourselves by deciding on and investing in our personal goals is an important part of working toward your best self. The sense of accomplishment when you master a new skill or discover new knowledge is priceless, too.
Choosing to work on becoming your best self, benefits everyone around you.
In an increasingly competitive world, remaining relevant is a constant challenge. Our knowledge-based economy means we must continually grow our skills and capabilities in order to remain relevant, not to mention successful.
When companies can source talent from around the world via the internet, you’re competing for work on a scale never seen before in human existence. If you’re serious about making your mark in the business world, you need to keep learning.
You’re the #1 Pick for Trivia Night
Life-long learners are not just more professionally competitive and emotionally balanced, they are generally more well-rounded individuals.
When you’re up to date on a range of different subjects or can discuss current events based on a deeper understanding of the topic than is usually available via the media, you can enrich those around you, too.
People who are interested, are interesting. Plus, you’ll also never be stuck looking for a team to join for the next trivia night.
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How to make it work
The only real commitment life-long learning requires is that you remain curious. You don’t need to commit to a specific schedule or timetable, you don’t need to commit to spending a lot of money. But, you do need to commit to always being open to learning new things.
Remember, learning can happen at any time and anywhere.
Here are 9 quick tips to get you going:
The 30 Day Challenge
Try something new for 30 days. Learn a new skill or pick a topic that interests you and, immerse yourself in it for just 30 days. This is a particularly good way of testing the water before diving into a more formal undertaking.
30 days is long enough to see if you’re really interested in the subject or it’s just a passing curiosity.
Use Time Wisely
No doubt you’ve heard the suggestion you can increase your daily exercise by taking advantage of incidental opportunities, like taking the stairs instead of the elevator. If you think you don’t have time for learning, make use of the incidental opportunities during your day.
For instance, how long do you spend watching TV, or kitten videos on social media? Put that time to better use.
Do you browse the shops at lunchtime? Why not find a quiet spot to read, instead?
How long is your commute? Can you read on the train or listen to podcasts (or audio books) in the car?
Challenge what you think you know – about everything.
Too often we accept everything we’re told without knowing why. Challenge that habit. Find sources of information that tackle the subject from a different angle and see if their argument makes sense.
Being a life-long learner and becoming your best self, means challenging the borders of your comfort zone. Broadening your horizons and opening your mind to new possibilities are also effective ways to unlock your curiosity.
Make It Social
The journey to your best self doesn’t have to be a lonely one.
Join a book club or, check out the public lectures at your local library, university, art gallery or museum.
When you can combine being sociable and discussing what you’ve learned or read, you can solidify that learning in ways that might not happen if you were to do all your learning in isolation.
Plus, the journey to your best self can include expanding your circle of friends, as well as your mind.
Make Mindful Choices
Habit plays a much bigger role in our lives than probably any of us want to admit. Right down to what you order from the menu at your favourite restaurant. Disengage that autopilot and start making mindful choices.
Once you begin practicing mindfulness in your decision-making processes, you’ll be amazed at just how many of your choices are driven by pure mindless habit.
Choose to drive home via a different route.
Order something different off the menu.
Choose to read an author or genre you’ve never read before.
- How to Change Your Life by Changing 6 Simple Habits
- 30 Day Challenge – Try Something New for 30 Days
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- How to Find Happiness; Stop Comparing Yourself to Others
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- 3 Awesome Reasons Why You Should Dream Big
- Get more done every day; three habits of uncommonly focused people
- What Matters Most? Figure that out and everything else falls into place
- 7 Simple Steps to Make the Most of Every Day
Explore Online Learning
Online learning can include everything from watching Ted talks to Coursera and Khan Academy. Not to mention numerous other websites that provide courses on pretty much everything and anything you can imagine; some for free and some with hefty price tags.
Whatever your interest, google will provide you with many online course options to explore.
Build Complimentary Skills
Complimentary skills add depth to the skills you already possess; work-related or hobby.
For example, if you’re an avid gardener you probably already know some plant propagation techniques like raising plants from seed or taking cuttings but, have you considered learning how to propagate by grafting? Grafted fruit trees are expensive to buy so you could turn this skill into a way to make extra cash.
Or perhaps you work with the public in some capacity? A knowledge of first aid would look great on your resume plus, that knowledge could help you save someone’s life.
Brainstorm all the ways you can add depth and breath to your value not just to yourself but, your family and friends, and your employer and/or customers, too.
Scribble in Your Books
Note the operative word here is your!
One thing I was very good at as a student was making notes in the book I was reading. This is especially true of the books I studied in Literature and English classes. I would always underline pieces of text or scribble notes in the margins and the technique, I’m sure, was directly responsible for my actually passing those subjects.
In order to first make a note in a book, you need to really read it not just skim it. If you’re serious about learning, you need to be making notes of some kind and right in the book is the quickest and simplest way to go about it. Just make sure it’s your book!
When you begin to pay attention to where your curiosity is taking you, you might find yourself facing real change in your life. It could lead to a change in career or like me, you might find yourself back at university, formally studying a subject that’s fascinated you for years. Where will that take me? Who knows… But the journey will be worth it.
Go on, be your best self. You’ll never regret it.
Do you consider yourself a lifelong learner? How has it contributed to becoming your best self?