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What is lifelong learning? Discover its importance and how it can benefit your career ahead

What is lifelong learning? Discover its importance and how it can benefit your career ahead

Artwork by: Alexandra Shevchenko

  • What makes lifelong learning so important?
  • The 4 pillars of lifelong learning
  • 1. General education
  • 2. Mastery
  • 3. Skill building
  • 4. Adaptation
  • Characteristics of a lifelong learner
  • How to encourage lifelong learning in others
  • Key takeaways

To be fully successful in your career, you must be constantly growing and developing on both a personal and professional level. That’s where lifelong learning comes in. Read this blog to learn more about lifelong learning and how it can benefit your career.

Due to the continual changes all industries go through, lifelong learning is crucial for those hoping to have a successful and fulfilling career. From learning new technologies and developing skills to discovering new trends in your industry, developing your skills and knowledge on an ongoing basis will better prepare you for management and leadership positions.

In this blog, we will take a closer look at lifelong learning and how you can use it to put yourself on a successful career path. Here are some of the things we will be covering:

  • What makes lifelong learning so important?

  • The four pillars of lifelong learning

  • Characteristics of a lifelong learner

  • How to encourage lifelong learning in others

What makes lifelong learning so important?

One of the great things about lifelong learning is that it propels us to improve our lives. When we are constantly learning and growing, we are always prepared for the next step in our careers and personal lives when they present themselves. 

There are many benefits to lifelong learning. Growing intellectually has been shown to decrease stress and provide you with the tools needed to face challenges in life. Learning and reading also help you to think more creatively, which can provide you with better control over your life and reactions to things you face.  Once you begin a journey of lifelong learning, you may be surprised to learn that you enjoy the process. Learning is not only fun, but it helps you accomplish goals you may have never thought possible.

Continually learning about the world around you can also help you learn more about the people in your life. With this knowledge, you will be better able to connect with those around you, which will leave you with better relationships.

The 4 pillars of lifelong learning

Typically, one will go through four different steps when they are on their lifelong learning journey. Learn more about these pillars below:

1. General education

Before you can truly begin learning about a topic, you will first need to develop a basic knowledge of it. During this portion of the learning process, you will start laying down the foundation for the future education you will receive on the subject.

2. Mastery

Once you have a basic understanding of the subject you are learning, you will then need to master your skills. At this point, you will grow your skills in the subject to an intermediate or even expert level.

3. Skill building

This level of the learning process requires you to improve your old skills in the subject you are learning and replace them with more advanced skills. You will also need to begin adding new skills to your toolkit that can get you to the next level.

4. Adaptation

When you reach this level of your learning journey, you have fully mastered the subject. However, it’s important to remember that you never truly stop learning. You should continue on the learning journey by finding new skills to master and adapting your current skills to fit the changing industry you are part of.

Characteristics of a lifelong learner

Now that we’ve looked at why lifelong learning is so important and what steps you will likely go through when you are practicing lifelong learning, let’s take a look at some of the characteristics of a lifelong learner. Here are some of the traits you will want to develop:

  • Self-leaders. Since you will need to tackle your learning on your own, being able to lead and self-motivate yourself is crucial.  

  • Self-awareness. You will also need to recognize where you have gaps in your knowledge and be honest about the topics you need to learn.

  • Goal setter. Setting goals that are both impactful and attainable is crucial to your learning success.

  • Open-mindedness. It can be difficult to master skills and knowledge in a particular area when you aren’t open to trying new things and are not willing to adjust the way you do things.

  • Commitment. To be successful with lifelong learning, you should be committed to the process and ready to work hard for what you want to accomplish.

How to encourage lifelong learning in others

After you’ve accomplished the art of lifelong learning for yourself, it’s only natural to want to inspire others to do the same. Not only does this help grow the knowledge of your family, friends, and those around you, but this is also another great way to practice lifelong learning in your own life. 

Here are some ways you can encourage others to become lifelong learners:

  • Be a good role model and don’t be afraid to show others how you practice lifelong learning.

  • Continually talk about learning and presenting opportunities to others who may be interested in learning from you.

  • Teach others by encouraging them to work alongside you, which can present them with hands-on learning opportunities.

  • Celebrate your victories with others so they can see the fruits of your labors and be inspired by your hard work.

Committing to a journey of lifelong learning can benefit both your personal and your professional career in many ways. For further assistance in building the very best career path possible, be sure to check out the Career Path Tool we offer on our website.

Key takeaways

  1. Lifelong learning can help you develop better relationships, lower your stress, add fulfillment to your life, and even build your confidence.

  2. When on your lifelong learning journey, you will first need to build a basic knowledge of a topic before mastering your skills and then adapting them to the changing industry.

  3. To inspire others to become lifelong learners, set a good example by openly practicing your learning process, talking about it, and demonstrating ways to learn.

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