Lifelong learning

Lifelong learning

I was lucky enough to grow up in a household where learning was valued. It was evident in the quality of the schools my parents selected for me, but it went further than that.

Girl reads book

Never too young. Or too old.

During school vacations, I was easily bored. After exhausting myself outside playing sports, I was always looking for something else to do. These days, most kids just jump on the internet (some can’t jump on, because they never jump off), but I grew up in pre-computer days.

Mom or Dad would meet my complaints of “I’m bored” with “Read a book”.  Often, I’d take their advice, and I enjoyed the experience. Sometimes I didn’t even need prompting. As a kid, I read a lot – although, for some reason, I rarely chose fiction.

Years later, I worked for a man who had more college degrees than I could count. His motto was: “A day where one doesn’t learn something new is a day that has been wasted”. It was, and remains today, an excellent attitude to life.

Whatever your method(s) of learning might be, make sure that by the time you are ready to close your eyes at night, you have learned something new.

Learning something you didn’t know before sharpens the senses and expands perception.

A few weeks ago, I learned about a model of car that had been on the market for a while. No big deal, but as I left the office half an hour later, I saw that very model parked in the street. Quite possibly I’d walked past it many times, but it was the first time I’d ever noticed it.

Read a book, surf the net, flick through a newspaper, or take a course. It’s about broadening your outlook, and perceiving more.

William Blake knew all about that:

“If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, Infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro’ narrow chinks of his cavern.”

I heard a story about a 65-year-old woman who threw open the doors of her cavern. She was headed back to university to study law. One of her friends asked why she would do such a crazy thing. Her reply was “In four years, I can be 69, or in four years I can be a 69 year-old lawyer”.

It’s never too late, is it?

What do you think? Please leave your comments below.

 

11 Comments

  1. I like the fun way in which you have created your banner heading and then picking the colors in the banner for your titles. That’s good branding!

  2. Hey Mike:

    I do agree that learning something new every day adds up to a heck of a lot of learning. It seems that the more you know, the more avenues open up that you want to explore. It’s a very cool way to run a life, I am thinking.

    One other thing it does is polish up your uniqueness. Somebody who combines a knowledge of, say, fixing motorbikes, existentialism, and making a mean barbecue sauce is a bit eccentric and some kind of interesting.

    • Hi Netta

      Well, it takes all sorts, doesn’t it. But once we leave formal education, there are countless opportunities to learn more about the things that interest us rather than those things we needed to know before graduation. As you say “uniqueness” can result. Now if you can tell me how to apply that barbecue sauce to fix a motorbike, you are not only unique, but a genius 😉

  3. I definitely agree with everything you say and you give great examples. Personally I not happy unless I have a new project in life that challenges me and where I can learn something useful always in the frame of mind to always better myself, thanks for sharing your examples…

    • Thanks Michael. The challenge is the thing for me too. The more i learn, the more I want to learn.

  4. Great post. I find that happens to me to at times, I learn something new and later that day it’s brought up again in some form. Beforehand I wouldn’t have noticed it but since I just learnt about it it stands out. Its a good way to keep your eyes open and make everyday a bit more interesting.

    • Yes, Summerly, there’s a whole world out there staring at us but we walk by every day. I think travel is one of the real mind-openers. I remember being in Europe about ten years ago and looking down the road, I saw a neon sign. I remarked to my workmate that I didn’t know the company, but i knew it was advertising coffee. Sure enough, it was, though I didn’t know the brand. When I returned home, I saw that sign in many different locations around the city. It had always been there, just that i hadn’t absorbed it fully. But I must have noticed it. Thanks for your response.

  5. It has been proven, the more you read the more you learn the more your brain becomes sharp. An old guy once told me that books and learning is the gym for your brain. Thanks a lot for putting an emphasis on learning and reading books. Best of luck to you.

    • Thanks Bassam. Gym for your brain indeed. Actually, a bit of physical exercise doesn’t hurt either. As they say, healthy body equals healthy mind (or did I just make that up?). Much easier to absorb when you are not tired. Cheers.

  6. “The more you learn, the less you know.” It is a vast world and we should hunger to learn as much as possible. I have a long commute, so I’ve translated my love for podcasts into listening to audiobooks. I never found the passion to read informative books. I’m a sucker for who-dunnit mystery novels. It’s been rewarding to engage in conversation when the latest impactful read is mentioned.

    • Tyler
      Novels on audio are a great way to stay entertained and learn too. However, as well as requiring a good plot, they need a decent reader. The first audiobook I listened to (many years ago) was The Fourth Protocol and it was read by its author Frederick Forsyth. Enthralling! The most enjoyable was definitely The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton, read by a woman with a great voice named Brenda Dayne. You can find this one free at Librivox The reader can add a lot to an audiobook, but for me, they can also distract and detract from the story too. Happy trails, happy listening!

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