Lifelong learning is defined as the self-motivated, ongoing act of pursuing knowledge, be it for professional or personal reasons. Recent studies have shown that a growing number of people are beginning to recognize its importance. According to The Pew Research Center, 74% of Americans consider themselves lifelong learners.
Perhaps it’s because of the increasingly competitive job market, or because the internet has made it easier for us to access a wealth of information at any moment. Maybe we’re just intrinsically motivated to learn, but our busy modern lives have made it harder to maintain a focus on educating ourselves when it’s no longer compulsory.
Either way, it’s worth looking into why we should engage in lifelong learning. This can help you clarify your goals and stay focused during times when the endeavour seems to lose purpose.
The Social Benefits
Your confidence plays a major role in determining your social success. Confidence comes from competence, which is built on your knowledge, skills and experience. Much of this comes from your interactions with those around you. This includes learning from your parents, testing new ideas on friends and family, taking risks and failing in front of others.
During this process, you adjust and adapt to become more competent, thus becoming more socially successful. In other words, learning sparks social engagement, as well as being the outcome. Your learning efforts support your ability to socialize, which in turn helps you learn more and so the cycle continues, leaving you happier and healthier in the end.
The Career Benefits
For most people, the biggest reason to pursue lifelong learning is to ensure professional success. This should come as no surprise considering that landing a well-paying job and continue moving up the ladder is becoming increasingly challenging. Engaging in lifelong learning can open up a number of opportunities in your professional life.
You can keep your current skills marketable to improve your job security, master new ones to obtain a higher-paying position, or learn something completely new and shift your career path elsewhere. So, how can you do this? There are many solutions.
For instance, you could consider studying at a university such as NEC, which offers a wide range of degrees and guidance on what would suit you best. You can also obtain relevant licenses and certifications through smaller courses during your spare time to further enhance your employability.
The Cognitive and Intellectual Benefits
Of course, lifelong learning will help you become a more knowledgeable and intelligent person. Consequently, it increases your ability to use what you learn in diverse and meaningful ways. It fuels innovation and creativity, helping you to identify new opportunities.
This helps you live a more conscious and deliberate life, as opposed to one in which your decisions are influenced by emotion, instinct and the desires of others. Coupled with other good habits such as exercise and a healthy diet, lifelong learning will improve your attention, memory and problem-solving skills, too.
These reasons make it clear that lifelong learning is key to a happy and healthy life. Start by setting your own goals and identifying how you can use lifelong learning to achieve them.
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