5 Compelling Reasons You Should Embrace Lifelong Learning

keep learning henry ford quote

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My Mum, who recently joined the ‘University of the Third Age’ is my inspiration for writing today’s post about lifelong learning
Her friend, in her eighties, recently completed an Open University Degree.  My Aunt, who is ninety-something but insists on getting out there and seeking new experiences, is equally inspiring!
My Mum has always loved to learn new things.  In recent years she has been to French classes and has taken up indoor bowling.  At The University of the Third Age, she is brushing up on her chess.
Here are five compelling reasons to explain why what she is doing is an excellent idea.

1.  It is good for the brain

Numerous studies show that mental exercise throughout life can reduce cognitive decline and the risk of developing dementia.  There is also research to suggest that learning increases longevity and happiness.
old men playing chess
Photo by Val Vesa on Unsplash

2.  It helps us skill up

In these days of information on tap via the internet, learning is out there at the click of a button. 
Why not learn how to do something for yourself rather than going down the traditional route of hiring someone to carry out the task for you?
Rapid technological changes also mean that we are constantly having to learn new ways of doing things
This could lead to overwhelm, but learning a little bit at a time on a regular basis can help counter this.


3.  It leads to improved earning potential

This article on graduate salaries in the UK shows the link between education and earning potential.
With jobs for life now few and far between, the average person changes jobs 10 to 15 times in a lifetime. 
Keeping abreast of developments in your own field and learning about new opportunities and ideas is so important.

4.  It helps us build relationships and make friends

The University of the Third Age conducted a  survey of members.  A whopping 91% of those questioned gave ‘making new friends and feeling supported’ as being a key benefit.
This is certainly one of the reasons my Mum has joined,  particularly as she is now on her own.
Research also shows that people with strong social connections tend to be happier and to live longer

5.  It delivers a sense of fulfilment and joy

Have you ever been so engrossed in a book you finished it in one go?   Or spent hours working on a hobby and creating something?  Or perhaps you have learned a new language and then used it on holiday?
I’m sure you found these to be positive experiences and extremely rewarding.
Learning new things is good for the soul.  It can help us overcome boredom by adding some excitement to our lives. 
You don’t have to learn something huge either.  Learning a small new skill can lead to a massive sense of accomplishment.
cartoon blushing smile
Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash
I’ve always been a fan of learning new things, in fact, it’s one of my top strengths in the values in action survey.
I realise not everyone finds it as easy though.   A key thing to remember is that learning doesn’t have to be in a classroom.  It could take many other forms. 
For example, learning could be:
  • self-directed
  • professional development through work
  • learning tied to a passion or interest
  • via conversations, relationships or travel
  • from reading a book
Here are some great ways of learning new things without going to school.

1.  Listen to podcasts

I use ‘Podcast Player’ for Android to identify inspirational podcasts.
I’ve also listened to instructional blogging podcasts over the last couple of months. These have helped me learn what I needed to get going with the little blog of positivity! 
The great thing I find about podcasts is that I can listen to them anywhere.  I keep my headphones with me so I can have a little listen wherever and whenever the fancy takes me!


2.  Take a class with a friend

Instead of going to the pub, why not enrol in a class?
Pottery, painting, French or researching your family tree. There are loads of options for fun classes to go to.


3.  Take an online course

There are literally thousands out there, covering every manner of topic! 
I have completed a number of online courses, mainly with Udemy.com who offer excellent value courses on all manner of topics.  I have also sometimes also signed up with individual course providers.  All the courses I have taken so far have been of very high quality.


4.  Listen to a TED Talk

I recently discovered that there are playlists on particular topics. 
Here is one playlist I am halfway through watching entitled 10 days of positive thinking
This also led to involvement in my first collaborative blog post.  You can read that here along with reviews of all the videos on the playlist.
As a bit of an aside to today’s topic, I thought I would share my favourite video from the list so far.

Guy Winch starts by talking about the fact that we don’t take care of our emotional health as much as we do our physical health.

He tells a story about a little kid who hurts themselves and knows exactly where to find the band-aids.

We teach kids about how to deal with physical injuries from an early age, but not so much for an emotional injury.

He goes on to talk about some practical ’emotional first aid’ we can easily adopt.


5.  Read a book

There is so much you can learn from picking up a good old-fashioned book!  
Reading for even a short period of time can dramatically reduce stress levels.  As someone who regularly practices meditation, I do find that I can also reach a meditative state when I am reading a book.
“All I have learned, I learned from books.” ― Abraham Lincoln

6.  Visit a museum or art gallery

Photo by Ryan Spencer on Unsplash
There are museums in my local area I am ashamed to say I have never visited. 
I’m putting it on my to-do list right now!

7.  Challenge yourself

Get outside of your comfort zone Not the easiest one I know, but challenging yourself to travel somewhere new or have a new experience can be fantastically rewarding
A few years ago when I was learning Spanish I travelled to Barcelona by myself.  I stayed with a local lady whilst doing a short language course. 
I was terrified!!
Immersing myself fully in the experience was one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done.

8.  Turn off your phone and have a conversation  

Looking up from your phone, or even better putting it away and switching it off, can open up many opportunities for interaction with others.
So, put away your phone and find someone to have a conversation with, you never know, you might learn something!
 .friends conversation
In my journal each day I write down three good things which have happened that day.  From now on, I am also going to write down one new thing I learned.
“Develop a passion for learning.  If you do you will never cease to grow.” ― Anthony J D’Angelo
I’d love to hear about what you have learned recently, leave me a comment and let me know!

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  1. Abby

    I couldn’t agree more! I didn’t even start enjoying learning until I was out of school. Then I was missing it so much, that now I’m always trying to learn something new! That Guy Winch TedTalk is my fav!! This post is very well done!☺️

  2. Paula|The Value of a Moment

    Wonderful post! I am such a big believer in learning something new every day. It keeps us vibrant! Love your ideas, I need to check out more podcasts. Thanks for the inspiration. 😊

    1. Alison

      Thanks Paula, yes you are right, learning keeps us vibrant! Have fun with the podcasts 🙂

  3. Eli Richardson

    It’s great that you talked about how learning helps to improve your skills. One of my uncles is thinking about taking a business management course, but he’s not so sure about it. He’s afraid that he’s too old to start learning again or that he’ll have trouble keeping up with the information. I believe that anyone who wants to learn is able to do so, and I think that my uncle could benefit from reading your article, and maybe it’ll give him the push he needs. I appreciate your information about the benefits of keep learning.

    1. Alison

      You are definitely never too old to learn! I hope my article can inspire your uncle to sign up for the course 🙏

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