There are so many different ways to become a lifelong learner, but why. We spend the first two or three decades of our life in school and learning. It seems odd to stop after that and not want to know more. I get that some people don’t have a natural curiosity, and that is totally okay. Becoming a lifelong learner can open new doors, make way for amazing experiences, help you to connect with others, become more independent, and be a better leader.
Why should we settle for specializing in something? In college, for example, you major in one or two things and that is what your entire education revolves around. Why not learn about business AND hand-embroidery if that’s what you’re interested in. Or why not how to code AND three different languages if you want to and you have the resources to do so?
It’s easy to make excuses as to why we don’t keep on learning throughout life when it can really change the way we see the world, better ourselves, and help others. There are so many free resources and if we can spare the time to watch mindless tv or listen to the radio, why can’t we spare 15 or 30 minutes of our day to learn something new. Something that matters to us personally. I am naturally drawn to being a lifelong learner and I have explored so many of the resources out there, which is why today I want to share exactly that. Without further ado, here are:
10 Ways to Become a Lifelong Learner
1. Read Books
Reading is one of the best ways to continue learning, whether you’re reading fiction or non-fiction. There can be so much information that is packed into books. My view of the world has been transformed over and over again because of the books I have read. If something is interesting to you, encourage curiosity within you. Ask questions and then find those answers by reading about your topic of choice. Even reading fiction will allow you to see from new perspectives, inspire your creativity, and encourage a growth mindset.
There is a reason that schools and colleges assign books to be read. The teachers who have assigned these books have done so because there is an important lesson that they’ve wanted you to take away. It may have been hard to read those books, especially if they had no interest to you. The amazing thing is that there is a book for nearly every topic, so you can choose the book that captivates you. Not into reading or don’t think you have the time? Audiobooks are the perfect solution. If you head to your local library, the vast information of books and audiobooks are actually FREE! Not many people take advantage of this, but this is a huge way to become a lifelong learner.
2. Watch Ted Talks
TED is a nonprofit organization that spreads ideas through relatively short videos. These talks can be so powerful. There are over 3,000 videos uploaded on the website. Some of them will leave you feeling inspired and ready to change the world, while other talks will blow your mind and leave you ready to learn more. These are FREE, by the way!
There are SO many topics to choose from, but my personal favorite topics to browse are business, self, and genetics.
3. Listen to Podcasts
Maybe you’re not the one to read or watch videos. Even audiobooks may be too long for you. It generally takes 6 hours for the audiobooks that I listen to from start to finish. However, there is still a way to become a lifelong learner. Podcasts are your answer! Podcasts are basically free audio shows that you can subscribe and listen to on a variety of platforms. I generally listen to my podcasts on the ‘Podcasts’ app that comes with iPhones.
Podcasts can be inspiring, mind-blowing, funny, and educational all at the same time. What ever your interests, there is a podcast for you. There are even podcasts out there that will teach you new skills for your business, help you learn a new language, and inspire you in your personal growth journey. These generally go by episodes ranging from a half hour to an hour. If audiobooks don’t seem like your thing but you’re wanting to learn while driving or cooking dinner, this may be the perfect solution for you.
4. Take Online Courses
There are so many different platforms to take online courses. Skillshare is one of these websites that allow you to take online classes. There are four main categories that you can find classes and workshops from- lifestyle, creative, business and technology. There are over 22,000 classes that you can take. I use Skillshare to learn visual concepts that I wouldn’t be able to through books or podcasts. The next couple of videos I plan on watching include Intro to Hand Lettering, Pattern Design using Adobe Illustrator, and fundamentals of DSLR Photography.
There are two plans for Skillshare, $15/month or $99 annually. If you want your first two months of Skillshare free then you can use THIS referral link. I honestly find $99 annually to be such a steal. I paid out of pocket for college which ended up being $10,000 for one year of tuition alone. In reality, so many people end up burying themselves in debt and spending so much more for their education. It’s crazy how expensive classes at colleges have become, especially when you can utilize platforms like Skillshare as a way to become a lifelong learner. I especially like that these videos are HIGH QUALITY because videos can be hit or miss on other sites.
Another way to find online courses is through the blogs you read. I recently completed a four-day course on blogging that was created by another blogger. One of the best ways to learn is to be taught by others who have accomplished what you are trying to achieve or who are more knowledgeable about certain topics.
5. Watch YouTube Videos
While watching cute animal videos probably isn’t a way to become a lifelong learner, YouTube actually has some really good videos. It’s easy to search through the mass amounts of videos to find one that teaches you a skill you want to learn or talks about a topic you want to listen to. I also love watching CrashCourse on YouTube. This channel has over 9 MILLION subscribers and has a range of topics from nearly every subject. The CrashCourse videos are always outlined very well, easy to understand, and are illustrated. I also like watching ASAPScience and Psych2Go.
6. Read Blogs and Articles
I love blogging because I’m able to share my experiences! Everyone sees from a different perspective, has different skill sets, and is knowledgeable in different topics. Blogs are free information. You can learn so much from the experiences of others. Blog posts are typically more personal, short, and casual compared to other methods of learning. This makes them the perfect tool to learn new things in your everyday life. Especially because we live in a busy world where it can feel like we have no time! Likewise, articles are an engaging way to learn new things, current events, and new innovations.
7. Go to Presentations and Conventions
Presentations aren’t as easily accessible as the previous options. I have found that looking up events on Facebook can show presentations that are near me. I am lucky to live next to Portland which has yearly live TEDx events, presentations done by authors, public speakers, and professionals in their fields. Generally presentations aren’t always free, however, they can have a wealth of information and it’s more personal.
I find it so much easier to connect things when I’m in the present. I can be listening to a podcast in the background or reading a book as I’m drifting off to sleep, but during these times it’s harder to retain information. Something clicks differently when you go out of your way to attend a conference, event, or presentation. You’re taking your time to go to this place and consciously make an effort to hear about this topic. When you do this and are actively listening, it makes a HUGE difference. Some people learn really well this way because it’s easy to connect to the speaker and connect to the moment. This makes it better to recall events.
8. Watch Documentaries
Documentaries are great to expand your mind on topics that are more in-depth than a YouTube video could cover. If you are ready to veg-out on the couch and have Netflix, you have access to a ton of great documentaries and usually, they take you behind the scenes on the topic of your choice. Whenever I hear that someone has gone vegan, about 75% of the time they cite a documentary they’ve watched. That is a HUGE transition to make in your life after just learning about it in a 2-hour documentary.
Traveling is one of the greatest ways to explore new opportunities, immerse yourself in a learning environment, and remain open to new experiences. I was blown away after my month traveling to 12 new countries. I learned so much about different cultures, the history of the different countries, architecture and more. Every time I arrive in a new city, I would take a walking tour. The tour guides would take us around to the monuments as they told us the history and explained different traditions. I’d go to the museums, the churches, the local events. I also had the opportunity to meet with different locals and other travelers from all over the world. This was the most amazing learning experience.
I have a wealth of knowledge from traveling that I wouldn’t otherwise have. Continuing to travel throughout life is a huge way to become a lifelong learner.
10. Surround Yourself with Others Who Teach You
Surrounding yourself with others that teach you new things, encourage a growth mindset, talk about ideas and new possibilities is so important. Of course, not everyone you surround yourself has to be like this. But there are people out there that are dreamers, believers, and thinkers. People who see greatness within you, regardless of if you see it in yourself. They will teach you new skills and encourage your ideas. You don’t need to learn something new the traditional way by taking a class.
Surrounding yourself with others that want to continuously better themselves and learn new things can be powerful. They can give you more insight, challenge your current beliefs, and learning in a social environment can actually help provide the environment you need so you want to keep expanding your skill set and your mind.
Do you have other ideas on how you can be a lifelong learner? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!
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