Live as if this day is your last, and learn as if you will live forever.~Ghandi
To progress in the job market required that I did a lot of reading and researching off the job, during my personal time. It was just a requirement to keep the career moving forward. I was interested only to the extent that it bought me some cred on the job. So I did it.
But with retirement, I have time. But quite frankly, the whole idea of having that time to pursue whatever I wanted to learn was new to me, almost too daunting a task.
Being a Life Long Learner Can Become a Way to Live
The accepted definition of life long learner is: the ongoing, voluntary, and self-motivated pursuit of knowledge for either personal or professional reasons.
With that definition, and with no need to tweak my learning professionally, I became a self-motivated learner, for personal reasons. This intimidated and thrilled me – at the same time. Until it just became part of who I am.
After much thought about this, I have arrived at these 3 encouragements:
- Personal learning has a lot to do with curiosity. Curiosity can take us in all different directions of learning if we let it.
- Time spent meditating on new stuff is time well spent, never wasted. So, take your time. There is no hurry to master it all.
- Internal motivation creates a thirst that seems to never be satiated. When it is external – job, boss, next promotion, applause, praise – the motivation dries up as soon as the hurdle is navigated, or the pressure is off.
There is much to learn as long as we have a working, thinking brain. So, how do you start this adventure of life long learning?
Everything can be a learning opportunity, if you let it.
It starts with just asking questions – of yourself, of others, even of Google!
Ordering a sandwich at ChikFilA is a study in customer service.
A drop-off at Fed Ex creates a curiosity about how that package gets across the country by tomorrow morning.
All of our interactions every day – our strolls in the woods, our drive on the interstate – are all opportunities that can inspire a multitude of curiousities.
More ways to whet your living-to-learn appetite:
Not into classrooms? Neither am I. Too structured, too ‘scheduled’, too confining, too much else to do, right? BUT, if you like the interaction of being in a group while you learn, this is the place! Try community courses at the high school, or community college courses, or local museums and public gardens. There’s lots of ways to connect with other learners, in person.
I’ve dabbled in online learning. I took a writing course and one on water color painting (after a miserable experience with a classroom course!). I am an expert in neither, but I still thirst for more!!
Here’s a couple of places to start for online learning opportunities. (I’ve only recommended these two because I’ve tried both!)
The Great Courses – on DVD or download, lectures primarily, with lots of visual/graphic support; check out the Sales pages for incredible bargains on a wide range of subjects.
MOOCs (Massive, Open, Online Courses) – this site is A to Z about what they are, how to pick the one best for you, how to not pick a bad one, etc. Top 6 MOOCs are listed at the bottom of the site, but the pre-stuff is worth the read if you’ve never gotten into this before. Some are even accredited.
Two TED talks that were inspiring and interesting related to the impact of life long learning .
Wofford College president Bernie Dunlap, gives a sweet talk about the fellow Hungarians who helped him see that curiosity in learning is what gives us more joy in life.
Pico Iyer, author of the The Art of Stillness: Adventures in Going Nowhere (TED Books) talks of how transformation happens when we are not in charge; and that we are only as strong as our readiness to surrender to not knowing.
The reviewer suggested: After reading so many tales of curiosity and transformation, you may be inspired to pick up that random hobby you’ve fantasized about, or take one of many college-level courses now available online.
Jump in and try one or two.
Or signup for a course at your local high school or community college.
Take a parttime job in a business you are curious about (florist, veterinarian, library, taxidermist, etc).
No matter what you do, decide this: that today you’ll do something to satisfy your curiosity, wherever it takes you!
Welcome to the adventure of Life Long Learning!
Read more here about lifelong learning about a school for grannies in India!