In our lifetimes, we must have had one constant no matter who you are or what you do, which is the element of change. One of the most impactful quotes I have come across when I was younger is this quote which says, “Change is inevitable, but progress is optional”. This quote is important because this defines our current context.
As human beings, our ability to go ahead in life depends on our ability to adapt to this change. This ability is fuelled primarily by the art of continuous learning. Yes, your time to learn has not passed. It never will. If you are someone who believes that learning is done only in class or formally, or if you believe that you need to be satisfied with your current level of understanding and skills, I am afraid you may fall behind.
Continuous learning is simply the on-going process of improving one-self in your own field or another field of interest. This term is often also associated with or used interchangeably with life-long learning and it would not be wrong to call it that either.
This habit will benefit you multifold than just learning something one-time simply because it will help you stay relevant or stay ahead of the curve. It helps you gain an indispensable perspective which will help you see the same situation in a totally different viewpoint. It adds immense value to your profile if you become the jack of all trades and the master of something. You can prepare for things that literally no one else would. Finally, a sense of innate confidence begins to be created with the competence you’ve gained.
How do we do this though?
- Find a style of learning that suits you
Learning comes in many sizes and shapes, you can choose to have formal learning, social learning or self-directed learning which all have their own benefits. Identify what works best for you and also feel free to mix and match. Formal learning is essentially indulging into an existing learning plan while social learning is the knowledge gained from communal interaction and engagement. Some platforms combine these well such as Unschool which take the best of both worlds and understand how each one of them is valuable. It also takes into account the value of self-directed learning, i.e, becoming an expert about a particular subject by providing the opportunity to work on practical projects to enhance your depth.
- Dedicate time for this every day
This doesn’t need to be too much time but it is important to build this habit by scheduling some time to learn every day. This can come in different forms, could be watching videos, listening to podcasts, reading a book, doing a course, or just attending an actual lecture but everyday learning is irreplaceable in this context.
- Create an ecosystem
It is important to stay around people who are also keen on learning or have some value to add to your learning journey by sharing their own knowledge or pointing in the direction where you can gain some. Either tap into an existing network or build your own network of experts and learners.
- Teach someone else
Sounds strange and confusing? Interestingly, teaching someone else what you already know helps you become a better learner by helping you structure your own learning and gain additional perspective. You don’t need to be a perfect teacher but this would definitely help you become a better learner.
In conclusion, the importance of continuous learning is undeniable and of utmost importance. This is valuable to people from every possible walk of life. Curiosity, asking questions, seeking to diversify your knowledge all have an important role to play in your life, so do not hesitate to make your progress your priority. It starts with building your habits, and this may just be the most valuable one.