Sylvan - Darien recently gave a presentation to a local Chamber of Commerce on Learning & Lifelong Learning. These were some of the highlights.
1) Always have a book or article
It doesn’t matter if it takes you a year or a week to read a book or article.
Always strive to have a book that you are reading through. Shaving off a few
minutes in-between activities can lead to 1-2 books per month or 10-20 each
2) Keep a “To-Learn” List
You have a to-do list. Now add a “to-learn” list. On it you can write ideas for new
areas of study – a new language, learn a
skill or read the collective works of Shakespeare. Whatever motivates you,
write it down.
3) Develop More Intellectual Friends
Start spending more time with people who think and discuss what they know or have
learned. People who invest a good part
of their time in learning new skills. Their habits will rub off on you. Even
better, they will probably share some of their knowledge with you.
4) Guided and Recorded Thinking
Albert Einstein once said, “Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too
little falls into lazy habits of thinking.” Studying the wisdom of others is
great, but lifelong learning requires you to think through ideas yourself.
Spend time journaling, meditating or contemplating over ideas.
5) Learn and Practice
Skill based learning is useless if it isn’t applied. Reading a book on C++ isn’t the
same thing as writing a program. Studying painting isn’t the same as picking up
a brush. If your knowledge can be applied, put it into practice.
6) Teach Others
You learn when you teach. If you have an outlet of communicating ideas to others, nurture
it and use it. Start a blog, mentor someone or even discuss ideas with a
7) Clean Your Input and Rotate to New Sources
Regularly clean out old blogs or media if you are only skimming them. Great blogs and
media can be a powerful
source of new
8) Learn in Groups
Join organizations that teach skills. Workshops and group learning events can make
educating yourself a fun, social experience.
9) Be Ready to Unlearn Assumptions
You can’t add green tea to a full cup. I always try to maintain a perspective to any new idea and let it
percolate. Too many convictions simply mean too few paths for new ideas.
Actively seek out information that contradicts your worldview.
10) Find Work that Encourage Learning
Pick a career that encourages continual learning. If you are in a job that doesn’t
have much intellectual freedom, consider switching to one that does.
11) Start a New Project
Set out to do something new. Forced learning in this way can be fun and
challenging. If you don’t know anything about computers, try a class or even building
one. If you consider yourself a non artist, try painting.
12) Follow Your Intuition
Lifelong learning is full of wandering and discovery. You can’t be sure what to expect
and there isn’t always an end goal in mind. Intuition can guide you and make
self-education more enjoyable. Much in our lives is logical, so much so that
making choices on the fly is suffocated.
13) Fifteen Minutes a Day
Use fifteen minutes of your day as a period for education. If you put it off to later
in the day, don’t let urgent activities push it out of the way.
14) Make it a Priority
Few external forces are going to persuade you to learn. The desire has to come from
within. Make lifelong learning a habit, and reinforce it weekly and even daily
- it is up to you to make it a priority in your life.