Lifelong learning? Why would you do that?

I’m a big fan of lifelong learning, which sometimes leads to some interesting discussions with people around me. Especially so, if I’m drained and tired and have no time for anything because I’m in the pre-exam state where I basically hibernate in my study and exit only for food and sleep. “Why do you do that?” and “Is it really worth it?” are the most common questions I get. Let me try to answer them here.

Isn’t learning boring?

Learning is in our nature. Kids are super curious and when they discover the word “why?”, they won’t stop asking it for ages. Sometimes, this can bring adults to the point of saying “Just because!”, meaning they’re tired of replying again and again or they might not know the answer by heart for questions like “Why is the sky blue?”. Kids naturally explore and learn something new every day. After an especially eventful day, they’re exhausted and fall asleep in the funniest places or positions, allowing their brain the needed deep sleep to sort and file all those impressions. So, I think the real question should be: why would you stop learning, if it’s a natural thing for us?

Our school systems (independently wherever you are) might have something to do with that. They were established centuries ago and their regimes show that all too often. Discipline is key and everyone gets the same treatment (theoretically, of course). Some topics are more interesting to one pupil, others prefer something else. Some kids are extroverted and energetic and struggle to sit still while others are introverted or shy and don’t participate much in the lessons. But still, everyone goes through the same process, one size fits all. Or, does it?

I’m far from claiming to have the answer how schooling should be done, but I feel that there’s something wrong with how it’s done right now. So many curious kids morph into disinterested pupils who are bored and who don’t like learning anymore. Some accept it when they’re given the label of “not being smart” and believe they will never be able to achieve much, which I find heartbreaking. Sure, not everybody has what it needs to be a neurosurgeon, but everybody can improve their capabilities with time if they put in the effort.

Fixed mindset versus growth mindset

This is the difference between a fixed mindset and a growth mindset. A fixed mindset thinks they’re given a certain amount of intelligence and that’s it. A growth mindset thinks they can achieve nearly everything with enough efforts and time. Again, let’s be realistic. Not everyone can be a Stephen Hawkings. But if you’re interested in something, put your energy and time towards it and give it time – you will see results! If you’ve failed repeatedly to maybe learn a language, don’t question your abilities but the teaching method. We’re born with the hardware (our brain) to learn ANY language of this world – there was never a baby that couldn’t learn its mother tongue. So, if you can learn one language, you can learn another. No, you’re not too old. It might take you longer, but it’s not impossible. The same is true for new tasks at work, playing an instrument, you name it. Learning keeps our brains active and healthy and our minds open.

If you want to know where you are on the fixed versus growth mindset scale, take this test, it takes only a few minutes and you don’t need to provide your email address to receive the result.

Post your comments under this post and let me know what you think about lifelong learning.

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