God’s creation, the universe that we live in, is full of information waiting to be discovered. Many of us have only learned a tiny fraction of the information that populates our world. This means we can spend the rest of our lives learning, and we still won’t come close to knowing all that there is to know.
One of the ways we can make the most of our lives is to be a lifelong learner. Learning opens up the world to us, gives us insight about the best possible way to relate to the world around us, and positions us to make a significant impact with our lives. Learning helps us discover the life God created us to live.
Learning does not require classrooms, lectures, and tests. It does require intentional effort. (Tweet this) Living in a world that is full of information means that we will learn things by accident, but because we learned them by accident means that we will not remember those things for very long.
To be a lifelong learner requires the commitment to never stop learning. To be effective in our learning we must first commit to being a student, even without the structure of formal education.
How do we become lifelong learners?
Six keys to being a lifelong learner:
- Humility – Our understanding about the world is limited, and what we do know has been influenced by what we have been taught and the experiences that we have had. We should accept the reality that there is still much to be learned, even in areas that we have spend a great deal of time studying. It is good to admit that we are ignorant about most things.
- Inquisitiveness – It is through the use of questions that we are able to focus our learning. Every day question pop into our minds, and as we seek the answers we begin to learn. This is one way we can continue the discipline of learning, even when we have left the classroom setting behind. We need to pursue the questions that we have.
- Passion – We should be excited to learn new things. I love the joy I get when I discover something I never knew before, especially when it gives me a greater understanding of knowledge I already have. Being able to connect those dots is a great thrill. We should also be excited to get a bigger and clearer picture of the world.
- Openness – It is easy to find information sources that confirm our biases. Liberals lean toward liberal sources, conservatives lean toward conservative sources, and libertarians lean towards libertarian sources. This isn’t entirely bad, because it is good to feel like your are part of a larger group. The problem is that when we are only looking for validation for what we already believe, then we will miss important information that the other type of sources have to offer. Learning opposing viewpoints is an excellent way to strengthen your arguments, find the weaknesses in your beliefs, and help you understand what the other side really believes.
- Read – The written word gives us the opportunity to learn from people we would have no other way of meeting. It also provides the ability to go back and cover the same material, so we have a better chance of understanding the information that is being communicated.
- Teach – When we teach, we are forced to think through the information that we know, arrange it in a practical way, and learn it well enough to communicate it easily and effectively. Through the process of teaching, we learn more than what we are able to teach our students. We should look for different opportunities to be a teacher, because that will give us a greater opportunity to learn.
To be a lifelong learner is a commitment. It takes intentional work to learn new information. This new information can improve our lives, open new opportunities, and gives us something to talk about with our friends. When we commit to a life of learning, we put ourselves in a position to make a difference in this world.