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Commit Yourself to Lifelong Learning Part 2

By Chuck Gallozzi

Reprinted by permission.

 

The Purpose of Learning

Although there are many reasons to learn, Mortimer J. Adler shares a major one, “The purpose of learning is growth, and our minds, unlike our bodies, can continue growing as we continue to live.” Here are other reasons for learning:

Self-empowerment, self-improvement, professional development. If we learn one new thing each day, we will soon pass the ‘competition.’

Although there are many reasons to learn, Mortimer J. Adler shares a major one, “The purpose of learning is growth, and our minds, unlike our bodies, can continue growing as we continue to live.” Here are other reasons for learning:

Self-empowerment, self-improvement, professional development. If we learn one new thing each day, we will soon pass the ‘competition.’

The more we learn about our world and life, the more at ease we will feel in it.

Merely trying to be better makes us better.

Technology is changing, world events are unfolding, and science is developing at a dizzying pace. We need to continue learning just to keep up.

As long as we are learning, we never feel old.

Learning makes life exciting.

Men and women of learning are always comfortable, whether alone or with others.

Is learning important? Well, it may not be compulsory, but neither is a happy life.

Ray Palmer summarizes this section: “Learning, if rightly applied, makes a young man thinking, attentive, industrious, confident, and wary; and an old man cheerful and useful. It is an ornament in prosperity, a refuge in adversity, an entertainment at all times; it cheers in solitude, and gives moderation and wisdom in all circumstances.”

What to Learn

As the field of knowledge is unlimited and our life is not, we will have to choose what we wish to learn. Here are some subjects to consider:

Because a positive attitude is a major key to success and happiness, it should be on the top of the agenda for anyone who needs help in this area.

What is your purpose? What is important to you? How do you wish to contribute to life?

What do you need to do to maximize your potential?

We create our lives by the choices we make. What choices should you be making?

Learning from our mistakes is great, but we can learn more from what works than from what doesn’t. So, be pragmatic, more concerned about what works than theoretical knowledge.

We are blessed to live in the age of the Internet (the world’s largest library) and Wikipedia (the world’s largest encyclopedia), for access to both is at our fingertips. But because there is as much misinformation and disinformation available as information, use critical thinking. Consider the sources. Don’t be duped. Or, as John Locke put it, “Till a man can judge whether they be truths or not, his understanding is but little improved, and thus men of much reading, though greatly learned, but may be little knowing.”

Learn the benefits of doing good. Kindness is the grease that eliminates the friction between people.

Learn how little you know. It’ll keep you humble and motivate you to learn more. Speaking about humility, Einstein gives us a good reason for being humble, “The difference between what the most and the least learned people know is inexpressibly trivial in relation to that which is unknown.”

Question your assumptions, opinions, and beliefs. They may be obstacles to learning. Often, before we can learn something new, we must unlearn a false belief.

Learn to play, relax, and take time for reflection. Take breaks to absorb what you’ve learned, and balance work with recreation.

An important part of learning is experiential. Experience and book knowledge are worlds apart, or as Luciano Pavarotti said, “Learning music by reading about it is like making love by mail.”

There’s very little you can do to change your IQ, but you can significantly improve your EQ (Emotional Quotient) and AQ (Adversity Quotient). Your EQ determines how well you can get along with others while your AQ determines your resilience or how well you can cope. Regarding resilience, consider these words of Jon Kabat Zinn, “You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.”

To get the most from life, study how life works, or the laws of life. Seneca expressed it this way, “As long as you live, keep learning how to live.”

Learn your rights and how to stand up for yourself and others.

Take advantage of learning tools, such as concept mapping, which will help clarify your thinking as you learn. You can download excellent, free concept mapping software [from the Internet].

Caveats

The first step to learning is recognizing our own ignorance.

Beware of believing you understand experiences you’ve never had. Don’t judge the actions of those carrying burdens you never had to bear.

Don’t try to take shortcuts. First learn the trade; then learn the tricks of the trade.

Don’t let your learning go to your head. The moment we act arrogantly, we prove our ignorance.

Put your heart into your learning. “Learn as though you would never be able to master it; hold it as though you would be in fear of losing it.” (Confucius)

Here are some wise words by Bill Gates, “We all learn best in our own ways. Some people do better studying one subject at a time, while some do better studying three things at once. Some people do best studying in a structured, linear way, while others do best jumping around, ‘surrounding’ a subject rather than traversing it. Some people prefer to learn by manipulating models, and others by reading.”

When studying, choose authors because of the wisdom they possess rather than the number of degrees they hold.

The more we study, the more we realize how little we know. Don’t let this discourage you. Rather, enjoy the awe-inspiring mystery of life and the cosmos.

Relish learning, but don’t neglect common sense.

When studying, embrace what is useful; dispense with what is useless, and adapt it to your way of thinking. Also, keep in mind that what is not useful today may be useful tomorrow.

When you have completed your learning, it is time to start new learning, for “He who adds not to his learning diminishes it.” (The Talmud)

If you’re not asking questions; beware, because you’re not learning anything.

“There is only one thing more painful than learning from experience, and this is not learning from experience.” (Laurence J. Peter)

Remember, the most important rule of learning is, do not unlearn useful information that you have already learned.

“Take good hold of instruction and don’t let her go, keep her for she is your life.” (Proverbs 4:13)

 

References

Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning by Peter C. Brown,? Henry L. Roediger III,? and Mark A. McDaniel

The Art of Learning: An Inner Journey to Optimal Performance by Josh Waitzkin

Accelerated Learning: How to Learn Any Skill or Subject, Double Your Reading Speed and Develop Laser Sharpe Memory- Instantly by James Horton

How to Improve the Quality of Your Life?: A Comprehensive Approach and Guide to Well-Being By Dr. Joseph Adrien Emmanuel DEMES M.D. M.P.H. Ph.D.

The New Science of Learning: How to Learn in Harmony with Your Brain By Terry Doyle and Todd Zakrajsek

Adult Learning: Linking Theory and Practice by Sharan B. Merriam and Laura L. Bierema

 

Reprinted by permission of the author, Chuck Gallozi, www.personal-development.com




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