“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.”
The rate at which we learn during our first, most crucial years on earth is extraordinary. Presented with a strange, new world and with little else to do other than make sense of the many new and exciting things that we are faced with – we enter this world keen, ruthless learners.
As we progress through nursery, school and college this hunger to learn stays strong. From how to share with others or cross the street safely to our academic studies or the topics that interest us most – are brains are hungry sponges. Thirsty for every ounce of learning that we can get from our surroundings and life experiences, throughout our early years we are continually progressing and evolving.
Some of us choose to go to university, determined to learn all that there is to know about our favourite topics. Shakespeare, volcanology , World War I – the subjects become more specialist and we admire our own learning feats and progression.
But what then?
Why is it that for many of us, a point comes in our lives when our learning is brought to an abrupt end? We leave school, or college or University and enter into jobs where after a certain period of time we feel that we have learnt all that there is to know about our role. We consciously bring our learning to an end – worryingly, statistics reveal that after education, many people will never pick up a book again.
Is this right, when it is essentially our ability to learn and progress that differentiates us from the rest of the animal world? Learning is not just about academic knowledge; it is about evolving as individuals. Continually working to become the very best that we can be.
Life-long learning is even credited for staving off mental illnesses such as Alzheimer’s and is said to keep the mind young. But most importantly of all – who wouldn’t want to keep learning in a world as vast, brilliant and abundant in information and beauty as ours?
Further still, an informed, strong and imaginative mind is a mind capable of big thinking – and big thinking is what we need to live out our biggest dreams.
Be sure to keep up the learning habit long after graduation, with a few of these suggestions for life-long learning:
With so many millions of unexplored worlds, characters and periods of history to be explored in books, why would you not want to read?Reading keeps your imaginative flame burning brightly and offers a brilliant form of easy and cheap entertainment. So head down to your local library today and see where just one book will take you.
Travelling, whether in your own country or around the globe, can open your eyes up to a whole variety of new cultures and untravelled paths. Taking yourself out of your comfort zone now and again will not only teach you about alternative ways of life, but about yourself and your capabilities too.
Have you ever fancied taking up a hobby, but until now have been guilty of putting it off? Starting a new hobby can provide you with a whole host of exciting learning opportunities. Netball, painting, wine tasting or writing – there are so many options out there! Getting to grips with a new craft will stretch your abilities and help you to meet new people. So what is there to lose?
Staying abreast of the things that interest you, whether through reviews, the newspaper, blogs or group meetings will help to keep you connected with the topics and issues that you are passionate about. Keeping updated about the things that matter to you most will give you a brilliant opportunity to further your learning and stay up to date with the things that may have interested you since uni.
Self-directed learning is a lot more fun compared to the structured, disciplined learning that you received at school. So take advantage of your adult years to explore the things that interest you most – having passions and interests is what helps to make us individuals and keep our lives interesting. If you have questions about something or find something pricking your curiosity – explore it!
Learning is a life-long habit – don’t break it!