Why You Should Prioritize Lifelong Learning
We view a lot of the learning in our lives as somewhat “mandatory,” including primary and secondary education. But learning doesn’t stop after college graduation. In fact, research shows that people who continually obtain new knowledge and skills are less likely to suffer from dementia in their later years!
Lifelong learning is the process of acquiring and further expanding knowledge and skills throughout your entire life to improve one’s own wellbeing. It comes in many different forms and varies from person to person.
Some of the ways lifelong learners engage in acquiring new information include:
- Part-time classes
- Online courses
- Hobbies and crafts
- Asking questions
- Like-minded acquaintances
Lifelong learning doesn’t just ward off potential age-related conditions; it has a myriad of benefits, some of which include:
Keeps the mind sharp. Lifelong learning helps you stay on top of your game mentally and strengthens memory. It’s a well-documented fact that learning in general benefits the brain powerfully.
Encourages community. When you learn or sharpen skills with others, you’re improving your sense of community. People you meet in a pottery class, for instance, may become a lifelong friend.
Improves communication skills. Learning helps you to continually improve your communication, whether it’s verbal, written, or body signals.
Strengthens interpersonal connections. Surrounding yourself with other lifelong learners encourages you to continue in your pursuit of knowledge. It also helps a person socialize and widens spheres of influence.
Fosters career opportunities. Increased education will never do anything but improve your employability. Having a wide skillset will ready you for career advancement and enable you to take on new and different tasks.
Creates “well-roundedness.” The more information and experiences a person has, the more well-rounded they become. This enables a person to connect with a multitude of different people and to be comfortable in various situations.
Creates teachers. When you have new knowledge that you’re excited and passionate about, you’re likely to want to share what you know. This often comes in the form of teaching. Sharing your knowledge further perpetuates lifelong learning in another person.
Instills fulfillment. In your later years you will feel more fulfilled looking back over a life of learning and experiences than one devoid of these things. You will have more to be proud of and will likely leave an incredible legacy for future generations.
Lifelong learning isn’t a requirement, but it’s certainly a worthwhile investment. Even if you start by dedicating ten minutes a day to learning something new, you’ll start to notice the benefits in no time! Eventually you’ll be able to throw more time at your pursuit of knowledge. And once you’ve become a lifelong learner, it’s nearly impossible to quit.
 Laal, M. & Salamati, P. (2012). Lifelong learning; why do we need it? Accessed October 13, 2015. Retrieved from http://www.researchgate.net/publication/224766557_Lifelong_learning_why_do_we_need_it
 Nhem, M. (2015). The importance of lifelong learning. Accessed October 13, 2015. Retrieved from https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/importance-lifelong-learning-michael-m-nhem