Lifelong learning: what is it and why is it good for you

What is lifelong learning

There is no standard definition of the term.  But from what I have collected on the Internet, it is best described as:

  • an acquisition of new skills and capabilities well past formal education years
  • an ongoing, voluntary, and self-motivated pursuit of knowledge for either personal or professional reasons
  • things you learn for yourselves, not for someone else.  They reflect on what you are passionate about and what you envision for your own future
  • things that genuinely interest you even if you never enjoyed school

What are lifelong learners like?

  • curious
  • open-minded with a positive attitude 
  • have a growth mindset 
  • constantly and actively looking for opportunities to grow by expanding their knowledge  
  • like reading books, learning new skills, and honing one’s expertise
  • agile and adaptable  
  • challenge themselves with specific goals
  • believe it’s never too late to start something

It’s good for your career

  • curiosity and a growth mindset invite future possibilities
    • curiosity is a “hidden force that drives learning, critical thinking, and reasoning” throughout our lives
  • soft skills are the critical skills for success
    • employers now shop for workers based on skills rather than official qualifications because of increased digitalization and globalization
  • creates a personal brand that stands for dynamic need fulfillment
  • enhances existing skills to make current tasks easier or more efficient
  • genuine skill growth can open doors to new roles and responsibilities
  • develops cross-disciplinary awareness that makes it easier to uncover unexpected connections for pattern recognition and intuitive thinking
  • lets you remain agile, adaptable and ready to fill the next organizational gap

It’s good for your personal life

  • learning something new and enjoyable makes your life richer
  • changing your mindset gives you the flexibility to follow your curiosity and may lead to opportunities you would never have otherwise thought of
  • improve your self-confidence
  • reduce boredom, and make life more interesting

What happens if you stop learning 

  • disinterest in learning how to advance your usefulness translates into disinterest in helping your employer

Will we be replaced by robots? 

  • it is said that automation is predicted to replace 50% of jobs by 2025
  • while the exact numbers are something we cannot definitively declare, the technological changes underway will create more jobs in different sectors

How to be a good lifelong learner

  • be like a child and always ask why
  • seek counter opinions and acknowledge alternative viewpoints
  • learn more from different perspectives and push yourself further
  • embrace failure and be proactive about asking for feedback and help
  • teach others to deepen your understanding and learn what you don’t know
  • e-learning can be just as useful as more traditional methods