We humans are blessed with a truly amazing gift: The ability to learn.
From the moment we’re born into this world we begin learning.
And once the process of learning begins, it doesn’t stop for a very long time.
We start by learning who our mom is. Then we learn which foods we like.
We eventually learn how to walk and how to use the toilet instead of our diaper.
Once we’re old enough to attend school we begin learning how to read and write along with the basics of math and language.
In high school we learn the same things we learned in elementary school, but generally at a more advanced level.
And if we choose to go to college we learn about the things that interest and inspire us.
Unfortunately, many people simply stop learning after they’ve taken their last exam or received their high school or college diploma.
The thing is, those people don’t stop learning because they have to.
They stop learning because they no longer have a need or desire to learn new things. And in my opinion, that’s a huge mistake.
Here are just a few of the reasons why you should never allow yourself to lose the desire to learn:
1 – Continually learning new things will keep your mind active and sharp.
Numerous studies have found that an active mind remains sharp and agile even into old age as long as it isn’t affected by Alzheimer’s or some other similar disease.
2 – Continually learning new things will arm you with new skills that could come in handy at some time in the future.
For example, you might believe you don’t really need to know how to change a flat tire because you have a AAA contract and a cell phone.
But what would you do if you’re ever faced with a flat tire somewhere out in the boondocks where there’s no cellular signal and no passersby to render assistance?
3 – Continually learning new things will keep your life interesting.
Have you ever noticed that many people just seem to fall into a routine and end up living the rest of their lives simply repeating the same daily activities over and over again?
Engaging in the same enjoyable activities every day can be wonderful, but they can also end up becoming boring and monotonous.
Making an effort to learn something new on a regular basis can help keep your life interesting and have you always looking forward to the dawn of a new day.
4 – Continually learning new things can (and probably will) save you a lot of money and aggravation over the course of your lifetime.
If you know at least the basics of how a given task is done you’re much less likely to fall victim to a scammer and end up paying the “ignorance premium” that we all end up paying from time to time.
For example, I seriously doubt if I’ll ever end up putting a new roof on my house as a DIY project.
But I do understand how it’s done so I’ll be able to at least keep the contractor honest if I ever have to pay someone to do it for me.
I’m sure there are other reasons as well, but those are the reasons for learning that are the most important to me.
Hopefully by now you understand why I place such a great importance on learning.
If so, here are a few tips for finding new things to learn about:
1 – Read anything and everything you can get your hands on.
Find yourself a good non-fiction book about a topic that interests you, but you know little or nothing about.
Buy a magazine that catches your eye as you’re walking past a news stand.
Subscribe to your local newspaper (or even the Wall Street Journal).
Type a topic you’d love to learn more about into Google and read several of the articles that are listed at the top of the search results.
2 – Take a class at your local community college.
Have you ever wanted to learn a foreign language?
How about learning to repair and sell used appliances to supplement your income?
Virtually all community colleges offer continuing education courses that anyone can take simply by signing up.
You don’t have to be a full time-student (or even a part-time student for that matter) in order to enroll in one of those classes.
If a subject interests you and the class isn’t already “full”, you can usually just sign up, pay the tuition fee and start attending the classes!
3 – Watch videos about topics that interest you on YouTube.
In a word, YouTube is simply amazing. Well, that’s actually two words, but it’s true nonetheless.
If you can possibly conceive of a topic you want to learn about or a skill you want to develop, odds are you’ll find several great videos on YouTube that explains it and/or shows how to do it.
4 – Talk to someone who’s an expert in your topic of interest.
Have you ever wanted to take up fly fishing or learn how to play tennis?
Chances are you know someone who’s been doing those things for years and they just might be willing to teach you how to do it too.
Bottom line: As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, the ability to learn is one of our greatest gifts in life.
If you make a conscious effort to learn something new every day you’ll probably discover that you really enjoy the process (and the results) of learning.
With that in mind, here’s a fantastic short video that offers several tips for helping you learn something new in half the time!
Note: As always, you can watch the video at full screen by clicking the “square” icon in the lower-right corner of the video after it begins playing.