Are you a “lifelong learner?” do you know anyone who calls themselves that? Oh, you do? What do you think of them and that statement? Are they?
What do I mean “are they?”
Well, what did they learn…? What are they learning? Does that seem unfair? Is your (or their) reaction one of indignance? Or maybe confusion.
Isn’t it good enough that I am the lifelong learner? I don’t have to justify or log the things I learned or am learning.
I’m not asking for you or them to justify. It’s just this: I like words. They are important to me. See Buzzwords: Don’t make my brain hurt for more. I feel that saying you are a lifelong learner is a really easy virtue signal these days. If you’re bold enough to ask just one follow up question as I have, “Well what are you learning?” then it becomes a problem.
If you’re going to school or college and someone asks what you are studying and you reply, “Oh well everything, I’m a lifelong learner.” And you then follow up with when they will graduate and they say “Never, I’m a lifelong learner.” Um…
If you want to be a lifelong learner I think there are three things you need to put TIme, Energy and Resources into:
You have to admit you don’t know
You’re willing to admit (at least to yourself) that you don’t have a clue about a certain subject. THis is harder than you think for a lot of people. It’s so much easier to say you “get” something when you don’t. So much less to answer then. And then there’s that annoying thing of people trying to teach you. Plus you don’t feel like you’re not good enough. You know, you’re in the group, on the team.
You have to truly be open to learning
An interest in this kind of learning can come out of nowhere. I’m not a “The Secret” kind of person but if you are not open to it you may miss it. THis includes no poo-pooing your friend when they bring up a new/unusual subject.
You have to commit Time, Energy and Resources
Being committed requires at the minimum the Time and Energy to research and learn. And it may involve Resources if its a course, or the materials are something you have to purchase. Youtube and google are great, but you sometimes get what you pay for. On The Balance Sheet™ I created, my clients get to list things on a learning column. It’s quite an eye opener and we recognize that a person’s finite time, energy and resources can only be spent on so much. If you’re learning a new skill then that’s time you’re not sitting on the couch watching TV, or getting that extra hour of sleep.
Clicking of tongues, nerds and naysayers
Those that decide to hijack the lifelong learner label (say that three times fast!) forget about the downside. If you have been called a nerd then you already know about this: society tends to reward those who pursue appearance and disparages those that pursue knowledge—especially esoteric knowledge. You may think thats a stark assessment but if you’ve ever shared your knowledge exploration with someone you know the most likely result: a rolling of eyes and then a label.
“Oh, really? You like that sort of thing? I don’t know about that. I did realise you were a [INSERT PURSUIT] nerd. LOL!”– Your friend that just made fun of you but added a ‘LOL’ at the end so it’s OK
Here are some examples of what I think a “lifelong learner” would pursue:
- A new hobby (especially one not in line with an existing hobby)
- A new skill (especially one that is not directly in-line with what you do for a living)
- A section of knowledge that you have “no business” or “no reason” to explore.
- So, do you call yourself a “lifelong learner?”
- Do you know someone who does?
- Have you ever felt that you had to hide your pursuit?
- Have you ever wondered why you pursue it? It’s interesting that The Balance Sheet™ usually reveals why.
Give these questions some thought. If you aren’t trying it you’re missing out. Having a pursuit, or being open to pretty much anything can be very empowering and enrich your life.
Hit me up if you want to fill out the aforementioned sheet and add (or expand) this enriching part of your life. Start a convo with me. How knows what fun can come out of it?
– Your nerdy friend (LOL)
Upside Down has joined the epic duet of The Sword and the Sunflower and Amira. Upside Down is the prequel for those who have read the duet and have to know more about what happened in those thousand years… Btw, The Sword and the Sunflower is now available as an audiobook (audible, Apple, Google, Your Local Library). Check it out.
Mark Bradford developed a system to achieve goals, manage your energy and understand and strengthen your path – it’s Alchemy for Life.
He writes, coaches and speaks on the subject. For more information, tips and tricks, like Mark Bradford on Facebook, follow Mark Bradford on Twitter.
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