Lifelong Learning – A Way to Happiness

you are never to old to learn. illustration designThe concept of lifelong learning has evolved from a refreshing option for those who are willing to learn something new regardless of their age to an outright necessity in a knowledge economy where information in every field expands at rates unseen before. In other words, continuous learning has turned into an essential element of success. This may sound somewhat threatening at first glance but it is actually a healthy development. Learning new things keeps your brain in good shape, and helps you get into a state of flow, which basically means you are totally focused on an activity, forgetting everything else but the activity itself. Such experiences are invigorating and rewarding, that is, healthy. Lifelong learning can make you happier — you get to learn something that interests you and apply it in your work or outside it, and people who do things they enjoy are happier than those forced into a boring and uninteresting grind.

Keeping up to date with new developments in your professional field is perhaps the most basic form of lifelong learning; we all do it because we have to. However, there is always the possibility of going beyond just keeping up and acquiring a new skill that would make your work better or easier, or signing up for an education course in your field to expand your knowledge. Alternatively, if you are in a job you don’t like, what better way to switch to a whole new career of doing something you love? Technology has prompted the emergence of a vast diversity of training and education platforms online, there is something for everyone and it’s often totally affordable. New education opportunities also help you meet new people, discover new perspectives, socialize outside your usual network of friends and acquaintances.

Sometimes, however, we are faced with a situation which requires what Brian Tracy, the world-famous authority on personal success, calls shock learning. These are situations when something happens that contradicts what you previously knew about similar situations. Such a shock provides valuable insight, takes you out of the box and nurtures innovative thinking. Or you can learn something for the fun of it, just to break the usual cycle of your everyday routine. How about a new language? You can teach yourself the basics and you can even go beyond the basics if you’re ambitious enough. Learning a new language benefits your brain, by the way, even if you don’t get to use it for career purposes.

Lifelong learning, in short, opens up new opportunities for you to feel happy and fulfilled, to do something you enjoy and get paid for it. This may sound like it’s too good to be true, but the educational landscape is in fact evolving so fast that future generations may well get educated on an on-demand basis, according to Salim Ismail, a director at Singularity University. The educational courses as we know them today will become obsolete and people will be able to learn whatever they need and whenever they need it. Well, that’s perhaps for the more distant future and it is a bold prediction, yet it would be a shame if we didn’t take advantage of the already existing opportunities we have to learn something new and, in all likeliness, useful and rewarding.