I’ve always been passionate about lifelong learning. From a young age, I’ve been hard-wired to enjoy any learning opportunity that comes my way. But academic knowledge is only one part of the equation.
This year’s Have a Go month celebrates lifelong learning and trying new things. So I wanted to encourage our community to give something new a try this September – a course, a new hobby or an afternoon reading a book you normally wouldn’t. Here’s why.
You’ll get to know yourself better
We’ve spent much of the last six months or so without socialising the way we used to. Friday night drinks have been replaced with zoom catchups, and holidays abroad have only recently become a tentative option again. Having a bit more time to yourself is a great opportunity to try hobbies you wouldn’t have considered before and discover new passions. And that’s the essence of lifelong learning – there’s always more to discover!
You’ll improve your brain fitness
The human brain can change and develop throughout our lifetimes. When we put ourselves in new situations and experience new challenges, the brain is forced to adapt. The idea of trying something new may be daunting but the benefits can be huge. One of the main positives is an uptick in creative thinking and finding new ways of looking at things. And this ability will undoubtedly affect other areas of your life as well.
You’ll improve your career prospects
Lifelong learning can bring a lot of added value to your career. It doesn’t have to be a professional training course either – everything counts. It’s great to expand your horizons and learn new skills that seemingly have nothing to do with your job. You’ll experience a confidence boost, find new ways to solve problems and maybe even expand the definition of what your work means to you. All of these are qualities that help us thrive in a working environment and are appreciated my most employers.
During the coronavirus pandemic, we’ve seen a lot of ‘upskilling’ on social media. From baking bread to getting fit, the message of compulsory self-improvement can feel overwhelming. So it’s important to remember that trying new things doesn’t have to be productive or useful on its own. Just the process of it is good for you and brings benefits that far outweigh the apprehension of doing something you’ve never done before.