One of Maya Angelou’s most famous quotes is, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then, when you know better, do better.” This powerful statement reflects on the ability to continue to learn more throughout life to make positive changes that impact yourself and those around you.
Most businesses and professions today require some type of continuing education or training. This may be informal and done in-house or a professional requirement for licensure or credentialing. Most workplaces also have education on new software, technologies, or work-related training requirements.
However, there is still one other type of learning that is essential to continue to grow and discover more about yourself and the world around you. This falls into the category of lifelong learning, and it is often not directly related to your profession or career, although it may have a very positive impact.
What is Lifelong Learning?
Lifelong learning is the internal desire to learn more about the world or some aspect of life. It may be the passion to learn a new language, culture, or a specific interest. For example, someone may be passionate about the environment and use lifelong learning to understand how to be more environmentally friendly or learn about specific types of plants and animals.
Lifelong learning can also be about learning more about ourselves. We could read about or take a course on effective communication, mediation, or learning how to understand other people.
The Benefits of Lifelong Learning
The goal of lifelong learning is not just about gaining knowledge; it is about improving ourselves. Throughout learning on an ongoing basis about areas we are passionate about, we engage our brain and constantly consider new ideas and solutions.
In addition, focusing on learning helps us to adapt to new situations and changes as we have a growth mindset and look for ways to incorporate our knowledge into our daily lives. We feel more confident, particularly if we have accomplished something specific with our learning.
Setting goals for lifelong learning is an effective way to measure your progress and stay motivated. Keep in mind, lifelong learning can be both personal and professional, with a considerable overlap in many areas.
Individuals that are lifelong learners are often committed to their goals and have a focus and purpose for their life. They are also individuals who value the ability to challenge themselves and continue to learn to do better throughout their life.