Be a Lifelong Learner by Sangeeta Doraiswami
The drive to gain new knowledge is usually strong at the beginning of one’s career. Over time, this begins to diminish as people begin to get comfortable with how they do things and lose the urge to push themselves outside of their comfort zones. On the other hand, some may never stop pushing themselves towards new knowledge. They are constantly learning and adapting till retirement and maybe beyond! Such people are lifelong learners.
Generally speaking, lifelong learners are those who use both formal and informal learning opportunities throughout their lives, recognizing that this facilitates the continuous growth and improvement of knowledge and skills that is a prerequisite for professional and personal fulfilment.
Formal learning opportunities can be anything from taking an art class to obtaining a higher degree. These are accomplishments that can both be added to a resume and be a source of pride. Informal opportunities also come in many shapes and forms: from having conversations with a colleague and discussing strategies to reading an informative article, listening to inspirational or motivational lectures and podcasts on topics of interest to even learning by observing an inspiring leader, colleague, friend or a fellow citizen in action, and then implementing these new strategies in one’s own life.
With advances in technology, it has become easier for curious individuals to learn whatever they want whenever they want. Today, one can learn something new online as new learning materials are added every so often and one can continuously dig into multiple topics of interest. Today’s lifelong learners are lucky to have many on-demand services available and making self-paced learning easier for all areas of life!
Even for those who self-identify as lifelong learners, it is important to know how to adjust one’s learning in a lifelong way, and the types of lifelong learning initiatives that one can engage in. In general terms, these require specific awareness of:
● The type of information you need
● Clarity on the current stage of life and/or career
● The need to have a roadmap of goals to be accomplished or need for improvement
● The importance of creating a timeline for oneself to achieve and accomplish the roadmap
All lifelong learners use a combination of methods throughout their lives to fit their needs. The key is never to give up; to see oneself as a work in progress that requires incessant upgrading, and to continually keep a zest for learning alive by adding regularly to the milestones of lifelong learning!