According to Leonard De Vinci, “Learning never exhausts the mind”. I can truly attest to this quote. Throughout my life, as I embark on a new adventure by taking a new class, getting a new certificate, or just reading a new book, I become excited about life. My passion increase and I am totally energized. My work becomes inspiring to me and my motivation level goes through the roof. I believe if we learn for life and become a lifelong learner, we carry with us vitality and exuberance which attracts success to all aspects of our lives.
Growing up in a small family and moving every two years through my elementary school years, I learned to entertain myself. Learning was all I really had during my spare time and I intended to increase my knowledge and perfect what I learned. My hand writing became an object of my work and I learned the proper way to write in cursive and practiced for hours in my bedroom. Another interest of mine was music. Practicing the little toy organ and my clarinet became two ways I began to learn for life. As an adult, now I still play the piano and music one of the passions that gives me life.
Four Steps to Lifelong Learning
In an article for MBA.com, author Taylor Roman-Cohen outlined the steps to take to become a lifelong learner. In his article, “Follow These Four Simple Steps to Become a Lifelong Learner” he states…”Fully dedicating yourself to becoming a lifelong learner can seem daunting at first. After all, who has the time to dedicate to learning with everything else going on? To become a lifelong learner, follow these tips:”
1. Make A Commitment
Becoming a lifelong learner takes dedication, discipline, and focus. The first step in becoming one is committing to doing so. Promise yourself you’ll spend a portion of time dedicated to learning and improving your knowledge and skills. This started at an early age for me and still continues to this day. Currently I am learning a new way to exercise and still practicing with a band to keep my skills as a pianist. My commitment to music has never wavered from the first time I plunked on the piano as a five year old until earlier this morning as I practiced for a memorial that I will play at on Saturday.
One way to stay true to your commitment is by scheduling your learning time. Try to set aside a little bit of time each day that you’ll dedicate to learning and nothing else. Set goals that require you to have time available for you to practice and learn new information. In my personal training business, I am required to keep my CPR and First Aid Certification always current. My calendar is where I make sure this type of information ends up. Daily, I check my calendar to see what commitment I have made to what project or passion I am learning about. This keeps me on my path as I learn for life.
2. Be Efficient
You probably learned this in college, but it’s worth saying again. Cramming is not the way to learn. The best learning occurs in periods of shorter intense focus followed by periods of mind wandering. It may sound counterintuitive, but incorporating relaxation into learning will help you retain more information! Consider trying the Pomodoro technique, which recommends 25-minute bursts of work followed by five-minute breaks. And during this burst of learning, remember to focus on small amounts of information at once in order not to overload your brain!
Taking a break and going for a walk. Using meditation and journaling when you feel like you efficiency may be lagging is a great way to get back on track. Many techniques can help continue to Learn for Life, just do a bit of research and add that to the list of things to learn. The other aspect of learning, use your time wisely and create a plan for efficiency. Try not to waste studying time with the next episode of a Netflix original. Limit how many shows you will watch and that will be in your plan.
3. Organize your learning
It’s hard to learn if you don’t know what you’re planning on focusing on. When learning something new, think of a loose lesson plan you want to follow so you have a sense of which
materials you need. Then figure out what tools you want to use, like a productivity app to keep your learning all in one place.
There are many phone applications that can help with this as well. Here are a few of them: Monday.com, Hubspot.com, and Smartsheet.com. Planners which are contained on paper are my preference. Having the ability to create a schedule to track and plan my time helps me keep openings for learning possibilities. Typically I am taking anywhere from 1-3 classes at a time and reading 1-3 books at a time. When I am in my car, Audible, an application on my phone which reads the book to me. Learning never stops. Make sure you create the space in your day.
Homeschooling my kids was such a growing experience. Probably for my kids, some, but mostly for me. Helping them focus was such a challenge, especially when there were five faces staring at me. My daughter the last child would prove to be a bit of a focus challenge. We had her tested for dyslexia and ADD and of course she was mild to moderately affected from these two learning difficulties. Making learning spurts quick and painless seemed to work best. She did very well in a room by herself without distractions and other people. I spent lots of time teaching the kids how to play the piano, but we had 10 minute lessons and it was their responsibility to practice. She still loves music and wants to take up piano again. This is a great example of how to learn for life.
When you’re learning, try your best just to focus on learning and figure out how you best learn. Avoid the urge to multitask and take on too many things at once. One study found that multitasking reduced IQ performance just as much as skipping sleep. Experiment with different levels of background sounds and settings to find the perfect combination to help you get in the zone without distraction.
Thinking of yourself as a lifelong learner will have far-reaching effects with everything you become a part of in your life.
What are you interested in learning more about, whether it’s in your personal or
business interactions and goals? Which mode of learning suits you best? This could include reading,
writing, mentoring with someone you know and admire, taking a virtual or in-person class, or
something else altogether. Commit to learning something new on a regular basis.
My Latest Opportunity to Learn For Life
When I heard about the latest studies about brain health, I was immediately engaged and excited. After speaking with the creator of this program which helps activate all 5 functions of the brain and it was low impact easy movements, I was sold. So, I signed up and am getting certified to educate others with a program for brain health. Keep your eyes open for new classes coming to help keep your brain healthy. We are never too young or too old to “Learn For Life”!
About the Author
I am Kathy Denise Hicks, Corrective Exercise Specialist, Personal Trainer, and Author. I have spent a decade learning about the body, how it moves and how to teach others to heal their joints and muscles. Being out of pain and losing a few pounds is what many are looking for and I would love to connect with you to help you achieve your fitness and health goals. Correcting muscular imbalances can really help you feel better, look younger and be happier. If you are looking to get moving and feel younger with more energy, I have a program that can help. My 14 Day Workout Trial, will give you an idea of the classes I offer. Come and give it a try. Your next best move may be a click away.