Lifelong learning is the process of acquiring knowledge and new competencies throughout one’s life. This concept essentially stresses the importance of continuous intellectual and personal development even after formal schooling. After all, there is always something one can learn and improve on, whether one is a fresh graduate starting on a first job or a top executive managing a large company.
Being a lifelong learner requires commitment, time, and effort. But the benefits are all worth the trouble. To help you appreciate the value of continuous learning, this piece will fill you in on some of the reasons why you should keep enriching your mind. We’ll also discuss some of the ways you can achieve this goal.
Why You Should Become a Lifelong Learner
Lifelong learning enriches practically all aspects of your life and provides benefits you may not obtain anywhere else. From helping advance your career to improving your mental health and cognitive skills, here are several reasons why you should pursue lifelong learning:
It Can Help You Excel Professionally
In this day and age of rapid development in practically all fields of work, you can’t afford to rest on your laurels. This is particularly true in Singapore, where there is fierce competition between workers and professionals in every industry. You need to push yourself and seek ways to broaden your knowledge and expand your skills so that you can readily adapt to the changes, keep up with the trends, and remain relevant in the workplace.
Participating in relevant training programs, taking Skills Future courses to expand your competencies and expertise, or getting advanced certifications in your field can do more than simply boost your qualifications and make you valuable. Investing time and energy into self-improvement will help you stand out and become more desirable among employers. More importantly, continuous learning can open doors to numerous career opportunities that may be impossible to access if you remain complacent and stagnant.
It Can Keep Your Brain Healthy and Alert
Aside from helping you get ahead in your chosen career, lifelong learning can also keep your brain healthy and alert. This means that you will be less likely to suffer from memory loss and cognitive decline even when you get older. One study published in the journal Psychological Science showed how learning new hobbies – like quilting, illustrating, or digital photography – significantly helps improve memory function in older adults more than engaging in social activities.
Reading, studying new concepts and skills, and engaging in other intellectually stimulating activities is like exercise. But instead of strengthening the body, continuous learning is a workout for the mind to keep it active.
It Can Boost Your Overall Well-Being
Another reason to engage in lifelong learning is to improve your mental health and overall well-being. You may not realise it, but you will gain a lot more than new information and skills every time you finish a course, take up a new hobby, or learn something interesting. Besides meeting new people and expanding your network, you will feel more confident, self-assured, and empowered to take on more challenges in the future. Engaging in something positive and productive, like learning, is also an effective way to alleviate stress and find a sense of purpose and meaning in life.
It Broadens Your Perspective
Continuously learning new things can help open your mind to different ideas and ways of thinking. As a result, you can understand situations better and find more appropriate and creative ways to address various problems—whether at work or in life in general. Being dedicated to learning and growth can also help you become more interesting and appealing to people. After all, individuals who are well-informed and have something substantial to contribute to any conversation are almost always attractive and admired.
Practical Tips to Engage in Lifelong Learning
Stimulating and nurturing your mind nonstop may seem too tedious, especially if you have a lot on your plate. Nonetheless, there are easy ways you can incorporate learning into your everyday life. Here are some of them:
- Make it a habit to read every day. Set aside at least 10 minutes of your time every day to read anything of value. It could be a short blog, an article in a newspaper, or a few pages from a book written by your favourite author. Can’t find the time? Try reading while queuing at the grocery store, commuting by MRT, or right before going to bed.
- Take advantage of free classes. There are tons of free courses, workshops, and programmes on various subjects you can take online or in-person to develop your mind and build competencies. Create a bucket list of things you want to master and commit to completing one or two per year.
- Learn something new on a regular basis. Learning a new skill or hobby stimulates your brain and helps you acquire new experiences. So, instead of watching movies or television during your free time, commit to trying out different activities. You can learn how to cook, play an instrument, paint, or do anything that makes you excited.
- Surround yourself with people who love learning. It is easy to stay complacent on your own, which is why you should meet and mingle with highly motivated and bright individuals who can inspire you to keep improving and growing. Talk to them, ask questions, and learn how they keep their passion for learning alive.
As you may have realised, the reasons to keep learning go beyond mental and intellectual stimulation. Staying curious and committing to continuously gaining new knowledge and skills can benefit you professionally, socially, and psychologically. That said, you may want to make room for continuous learning in your life. The process may require time and effort, but the rewards are worth the sacrifice. Don’t you agree?