Five reasons to make lifelong learning a daily habitBy Emma Corpade
I loved school. I really did. I liked reading my books, writing my essays, doing my homework and hardly ever missed a class. Because, you know, that’s what you do when you are in school, right?
But somehow, I was really looking forward to the day when I would graduate and be out of school, with a feeling of absolute freedom.
I mean, I wasn’t going to spend the majority of my time going through an endless number of pages of some course books or study materials, right? You don’t need to do that anymore once you have a job and you get to focus on building your career. There would be work to do, I knew that for sure, but time spent doing lots and lots of reading or studying, not that much!!
Or at least that’s what I thought as an enthusiastic graduate keen to take the first step of my career ladder in the very exciting Travel and Tourism Industry, nearly two decades ago.
I was soon going to find out how different the reality was.
Not only did I start my first job and every other job that I ever had with an intensive training program plus a long list of recommended reading material but I soon realised that the opportunities that could present to me, not only for my own personal development but also in terms of career progression in the workplace, made every single bit of effort in the learning and development department, totally worthwhile.
Over the years I was presented with some fantastic learning opportunities, both within the companies I worked for and outside of my workplace and I embraced them without hesitation. I mean, how could I not have?
I was given the opportunity to learn new things that would help me be better equipped in maintaining a world-class standard of service, I would be a better team leader or a better communicator. I would learn how to deal with customers more efficiently, how to be a better salesperson, how to overcome difficult situations.
All of this because I was willing to learn and develop and in return, this translated in being able to achieve fantastic results consistently.
And the same applies to anyone who has a keen interest in learning and improving themselves.
We are lucky to live in a wonderful time in history and with the huge variety of skills which can help us grow and develop in life, one of the most amazing things is that we never have to stop learning.
In today’s society, learning has taken a new dimension. Classroom learning is so far behind us and instead, we are spoiled for choice when it comes to budget, accessibility and flexibility. Online materials at the click of a button, in-depth audio courses that we can listen to anywhere, live coaching sessions tailored to our own needs. What else could we possibly want in order to take action towards becoming the best version of ourselves?
But in order for us to willingly take the path of self-development through learning, we must first become aware of what benefits there are in it for us. And here are my top five reasons why we should all make learning a lifelong habit:
1. Learning enables us to take our life, career or business to the next level
“Every next level of your life will demand a different you.” – Leonardo DiCaprio
Whatever level of expertise or knowledge got us where we are today, will not get us where we want to be. And in order to achieve our big dreams and goals, we must grow into a different, better version of ourselves, that is more prepared for the challenges ahead of us.
It is difficult to advance in our careers, or business, or even relationships unless we improve what we already have and who we already are.
Even more so, we have the power to achieve more today than we did yesterday if we know more today than we did yesterday.
On the other hand, in order to guarantee professional development and business growth, we must keep up to date with what’s happening in our industry. Regardless of the business or industry, we’re in, not being up to date with everything that is happening within our space, is the easiest way to be left behind.
2. Continuous learning keeps the brain active and in top condition
It is a widely known fact that learning keeps our brains active. In fact, neurobiologists at the University of California have recently provided visual evidence that learning promotes a healthy brain and that mental stimulation could limit the debilitating effects the process of ageing has on memory and the mind. And that is great news if we take into account the important role it could have in helping prevent dementia.
In the same way, our body needs regular exercise for optimum health and fitness, our brain also needs exercise, in order to keep functioning at a high level. Also, since the brain has the ability to create new neural pathways throughout a lifetime, it is never too late to start your mental exercise, whether that is learning a new skill or a new language, pursuing a hobby or just reading a new book.
3. We owe it to ourselves to be the best we can be
With every new thing that we learn, every new skill that we gain, we move a step closer to achieving our goals and we increase our odds of success. So, what happens when we stop improving ourselves? We literally stop building the road towards making our goals and dreams a reality.
Every new skill we develop is just like adding another tool in our toolbox. The more tools we have, the more things we can fix and problems we can solve. And sure enough, anyone aiming high and wanting to achieve a worthy goal will have quite a few things to fix along the way.
And we only need to look at what some of the most successful people in the world do, to recognise that. Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Oprah Winfrey, all of them devote considerable amounts of time on a daily basis to reading and surely these people do know a thing or two about being successful. They value the benefits that reading and continuously learning new things bring them, and that is why they have what the majority of other people do not have.
All the successful people do the things that unsuccessful people are not willing to do. So, if we want to achieve what most people don’t, then we must do what most people are not doing or are unwilling to do.
4. We become a role model and inspire others to do the same
Being able to teach someone something that you know is one of the most satisfying things in the world.
And in no other circumstances is this more rewarding than in our role as parents. Everything we do as parents is vital in shaping our children’s futures, particularly since children tend to learn a lot by example, by what they see happening around them, by what we do and how we behave on a daily basis.
We are given this huge blessing to be able to guide and support them on their journey to become responsible and capable individuals, to stimulate their interest in certain subjects or activities, to teach them values and to put them on their path towards adulthood.
Therefore, we cannot expect our children to perform well in school, be focused and enjoy doing their school work if we, as parents, do not exhibit a similar level of dedication to learning and developing ourselves on a regular basis.
The same applies to your workplace or your business.
It is down to you, as the leader, to bring learning and development into your culture and make consistent efforts together with your team in this direction. Not only that but one will never step into their leadership role by simply managing from a distance and expecting their team members to just do their jobs. They will have to be as involved as it’s needed, work and find solutions alongside with their team and share their knowledge and expertise, and, more importantly, empower each team member to give their very best.
5. We live a happier and more fulfilled life
Quite often, the process of learning can be challenging and frustrating, depending on the complexity level of the skill we want to master. But regardless of how challenging a task may be, one will never feel more on top of the world than the moment they achieve their goals.
Learning new things can help us become more confident and build self-esteem and it can create within ourselves a load of positive emotions, which flood our brains with feel-good chemicals like dopamine and serotonin.
And everything is related, so more education leads to more confidence and self-efficacy, which leads to better decisions and possibly higher income. This in turn with trigger emotional stability, more fulfilment and happiness.
And the great thing is that once we start having such positive chain reactions in our life, we will want to have more and more of the same.
So, keep learning, because the moment you stop learning, you stop growing.
Make today day one of your learning journeys and since all the great individuals in the world are doing it, then it’ll certainly be worth joining them.