The Case For Continuing Education

January 26, 2015
Virgil Thomas, ChangingAging.org

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There are lots of way to continue learning once your “education” is complete. I would argue everyone has the opportunity to learn something new everyday. Weather or not we actually do is another matter.

Often times the daily grind can blind us and confine our world to our line of sight. Just getting through the day or the week can be enough of a task without taking the time to learn something new. I know that I don’t always feel like I have the RAM to take on anything new.

Such a habit, unfortunately, leads inevitably to stagnation. We are meant to learn throughout our life, not just in the beginning. This is the greatest advantage of aging, and it is why our elders have such wisdom.

Living and working in a culture that empowers continuing education is your best bet for growth. Such a culture values growth, curiosity, and learning. It provides the autonomy to make mistakes and the security to learn from them. It provides the expectation that every day is a good day to learn and it provides the support to make it possible.

One options for life-long learning is to go back to school, or at least to take classes. Your brain is like a muscle in the sense that if you do not use it you lose it. Continuously feeding your curiosity not only educates you on the subject matter your currently pursuing, but it also removes those blinders and helps you see the daily opportunities for learning. Such a cycle helps strengthen the culture of growth.

With the internet as a resource we have access to the greatest wealth of knowledge ever created and with the growing popularity of free and paid online learning courses this knowledge is now structured and accredited. Even if you don’t take a class there are still a world of articles, blog posts, pod casts, and instructional videos designed to help you learn that one new thing.

Probably the most powerful method for continuous learning is to listen curiously. I use this term broadly because it means more than just hearing the things around you, the story of and elder, or the advice of a mentor. It really means being open and receptive to the things going on all around you

How do you try to create a culture of growth and learning? Is it a priority for you in your personal and professional lives? What would make continuous learning easier for you?

 

2 Comments. Leave new

Continuous learning is made easier by having friends and co-workers who share the same excitement and drive. You are correct, your brain is like a muscle and needs to be stretched and strengthened. Good books, a good class, and certainly teaching all expand our horizons. We are all students. We are all teachers. And isn’t that just grand!

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I find that the key to continuous learning is to simply be a default “YES!” to everything tht shows up… particularly something that you never did or thought of before.
Unfortunately, most of us age into an automatic, “NO”. We sweetly couch its bluntness with varying degrees of social grease – “not right now”, “sure, someday.”, or “I’m good”… as though those meant something other than “Hell, no. I already know.”

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