Some people assume that when they leave high school or college, their education is over. The truth is that if we want to be successful, both in life and in business, we can never stop learning. Some people are going to use a variation of the excuse “but I am too busy.” The truth is that lifelong learning does not have to cost a great deal of time.
Why keep learning?
Aside from the fact that you can improve yourself in countless different ways, there is scientific evidence to suggest that learning throughout our lifetime can help maintain and even improve our mental well-being. This means feeling good about ourselves, about the people around us, and having the experiences in life that we want.
Learning can help us increase our feelings of self-esteem, and it can help build up our self-confidence. On an even deeper level, learning can help us generate a sense of purpose and help us connect with other people in the world. Safe to say, we should never stop learning.
Explore different ways to learn
If you want to keep learning, you have to learn different ways to gather information. Even though listening to a podcast is a great way to facilitate auditory learning, you want to broaden your horizon a bit. Find a way so you are able to rehearse the information in a visual and verbal manner. Perhaps you can draw a mind map, take notes, or tell a friend what you learned. You are cementing the knowledge in your mind by learning in more than one way.
According to research, the more regions in the brain that store information about a particular subject, the more interconnection we can see. This means that when responding to a single cue, our brain has the chance to pull up the related bits of information from multiple storage areas. This means that we have truly ‘learned’ rather than memorized information. Our brain is actively cross-referencing data.
How to get better at learning
Some people may suggest that they are not effective learners, or that they have a hard time retaining information. One of the best ways to become more effective when it comes to learning new information is to keep learning. Who would have guessed?
Moreover, an article in ‘Nature’ published in 2004 revealed that people who learned how to juggle saw an increase of gray matter in their occipital lobes. The occipital lobes are those parts of the brain that researchers associate with visual memory. Interestingly enough, the gray matter vanished when these study participants stopped practicing their new skill.
If you were going to learn a new language for example, you have to keep practicing the language that you are learning if you hope to retain it. This phenomenon is known as “pruning,” a brain process where certain information is lost if we no longer use it. If you want to make sure that you retain the information over the long term, keep practicing and applying it.
Where can you start?
You’re able to take cooking classes, enroll in language learning programs, and get professional certifications once you leave your home, but I want to leave you with a few suggestions that you can use right now, from the comfort of your own home:
- Learn Excel – You can learn how to use Excel by going to Chandoo. As one of the most requested pieces of software from the Microsoft Office suite, knowledge of Excel can prove to be invaluable during your professional career.
- Learn to code – You can receive free or cheap online coding tutorials in a number of different places. You can try Treehouse or Code Academy.
- Learn to make a mobile game – Perhaps you want to create the next Angry Birds or just want to code for something that you enjoy. You do not need programming experience to follow the tutorial here.
- Learn a new language – You can learn Italian, Portuguese, French, and Spanish with Duolingo. The extensive courses are completely free via the desktop site and mobile app.
- Learn to draw – Why is it that we are so terrified of drawing as adults? Most of us love to do so as kids. You can express your creativity with sketching. This is a great place to start.
- Learn math – If you are someone who has always struggled with math and does not see any of the application in real-world situations, visit this Real World Math course. It provides you with real life examples of math skills that you can use.
- Learn yoga – Even though there are many different cities that offer free community classes, perhaps you are more comfortable at home. These two options are a great introduction to some of the basic yoga poses.
No more excuses
Keep in mind that learning does not have to consume your day. You are perfectly capable of learning new information, new tricks, and new hobbies while only investing a moderate amount of time. The excuse of “I do not have the time” does not apply to people who have read this article. You know how you benefit, you know where to start looking, now it is time to start learning!