Life time learning means you will always be growing and evolving. 

 

There’s always something to learn. Whether you’re picking up a hobby or starting a new career, you’ll need to acquire fresh knowledge and skills. And you should be eager to embrace the challenge, because lifelong learning has a lot of benefits. Here are a few.

It Can Help You Succeed at Your Job


Only 15% of hiring managers say most job seekers have the skills their company is looking for.* If you want increase your chances of getting a good job, you want to be in that 15%. Which means you want to take the time to acquire the skills employers are looking for. You can do this through experience or you can earn a college degree or graduate certificate in the field that’s most closely associated with your preferred career. Graduate certificates and bachelor’smaster’s, and doctoral degrees can all be beneficial.

 

It Can Help Your Brain Stay Healthy


Continuing to learn does good things for our brains. Recent research has found that learning keeps brain cells working at optimum levels, which can limit cognitive and memory decline as we age.† The best part is, the learning can come in any form. As long as we’re acquiring new knowledge, we’re keeping our brain healthier.

It Can Help You Stay Connected


From participating in continued education at colleges and universities to attending art classes at the rec center to studying and debating important issues in online groups, many forms of adult education allow you to meet new people and connect with the ideas of today. If you want to keep making friends and avoid becoming out of touch with the modern world, one of the best choices you can make is to continue learning.

It Can Help You Stay Fulfilled


Many people participate in lifelong learning because they enjoy it. And that’s no surprise, given that research has shown that lifelong learning can lead to an enriching life of self-fulfillment.‡ When we take the time to learn new things, we open our minds and gain wisdom that can help us make the world a better place through social change and other life-affirming endeavors.

It Can Help You Be Happier


Lifelong learning doesn’t just increase the likelihood we’ll feel fulfilled, it can improve our emotional balance and help us avoid depression.§ For older adults, this is particularly beneficial, as depression often comes with aging. While there is no cure for getting older, lifelong learning can help us stay happier as we progress through the stages of life.

It’s Easier Than Ever to Engage in Lifelong Learning


The rise of online education has made lifelong learning a real possibility for everyone, no matter where or how you live. That’s because online learning lets you learn from home. Plus, you can take online classes at whatever time of day works best for you, keeping you in control of your schedule.

Whether you simply want to take a course on a specific topic or you want to earn a degree from a good college, you’ll find plenty of online courses and online degree programs that meet your needs. Many top higher education institutions allow you to earn a degree online, giving you access to accredited universities across the nation and world. College education has never been so convenient, and earning a degree has never been so possible. Enrolling in an online university can be a great way to enjoy the benefits of lifelong learning.

Walden University is an accredited institution offering bachelor’smaster’s, and doctoral degree programs online. Expand your career options and earn your degree using a convenient, flexible learning platform that fits your busy life.

 

*Cooper, N., “The Career-Boosting Benefits of Lifelong Learning,” Mashable, on the internet at http://mashable.com/2014/01/25/lifelong-learning/#qOS3pUGbysq9.

†University of California, Irvine, “Learning Helps Keep Brain Healthy,” UCI News, on the internet at https://news.uci.edu/2010/03/02/uc-irvine-news-release-learning-helps-keep-brain-healthy.

‡Laal, M., “Benefits of Lifelong Learning,” Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, on the internet at www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1877042812019751.

§Vitelli, R., “Can Lifelong Learning Help As We Age?” Psychology Today, on the internet at www.psychologytoday.com/blog/media-spotlight/201210/can-lifelong-learning-help-we-age.

In 2015 Doreetha Daniels received her associate degree in social sciences from College of the Canyons, in Santa Clarita, California. But Daniels wasn’t a typical student: She was 99 years old. In the COC press release about her graduation, Daniels indicated that she wanted to get her degree simply to better herself; her six years of school during that pursuit were a testament to her will, determination, and commitment to learning.

Few of us will pursue college degrees as nonagenarians, or even as mid-career professionals (though recent statistics indicate that increasing numbers of people are pursuing college degrees at advanced ages). Some people never really liked school in the first place, sitting still at a desk for hours on end or suffering through what seemed to be impractical courses. And almost all of us have limits on our time and finances — due to kids, social organizations, work, and more — that make additional formal education impractical or impossible.

As we age, though, learning isn’t simply about earning degrees or attending storied institutions. Books, online courses, MOOCs, professional development programs, podcasts, and other resources have never been more abundant or accessible, making it easier than ever to make a habit of lifelong learning. Every day, each of us is offered the opportunity to pursue intellectual development in ways that are tailored to our learning style.

So why don’t more of us seize that opportunity? We know it’s worth the time, and yet we find it so hard to make the time. The next time you’re tempted to put learning on the back burner, remember a few points:

Educational investments are an economic imperative. The links between formal education and lifetime earnings are well-studied and substantial.

 

In 2015 Christopher Tamborini, ChangHwan Kim, and Arthur Sakamoto found that, controlling for other factors, men and women can expect to earn $655,000 and $445,000 more, respectively, during their careers with a bachelor’s degree than with a high school degree, and graduate degrees yield further gains. Outside of universities, ongoing learning and skill development is essential to surviving economic and technological disruption.

 

The Economist recently detailed the ways in which our rapidly shifting professional landscape — the disruptive power of automation, the increasing number of jobs requiring expertise in coding — necessitates that workers focus continually on mastering new technologies and skills.

 

In 2014 a CBRE report estimated that 50% of jobs would be redundant by 2025 due to technological innovation. Even if that figure proves to be exaggerated, it’s intuitively true that the economic landscape of 2017 is evolving more rapidly than in the past. Trends including AI, robotics, and offshoring mean constant shifts in the nature of work. And navigating this ever-changing landscape requires continual learning and personal growth.

Learning is positive for health.

 

As I’ve noted previously, reading, even for short periods of time, can dramatically reduce your stress levels. A recent report in Neurology noted that while cognitive activity can’t change the biology of Alzheimer’s, learning activities can help delay symptoms, preserving people’s quality of life. Other research indicates that learning to play a new instrument can offset cognitive decline, and learning difficult new skills in older age is associated with improved memory.

What’s more, while the causation is inconclusive, there’s a well-studied relationship between longevity and education. A 2006 paper by David Cutler and Adriana Lleras-Muney found that “the better educated have healthier behaviors along virtually every margin, although some of these behaviors may also reflect differential access to care.” Their research suggests that a year of formal education can add more than half a year to a person’s life span. Perhaps Doreetha Daniels, at 99, knows something many of us have missed.

Being open and curious has profound personal and professional benefits. While few studies validate this observation, I’ve noticed in my own interactions that those who dedicate themselves to learning and who exhibit curiosity are almost always happier and more socially and professionally engaging than those who don’t.

 

I have a friend, Duncan, for example, who is almost universally admired by people he interacts with. There are many reasons for this admiration, but chief among them are his plainly exhibited intellectual curiosity and his ability to touch, if only briefly, on almost any topic of interest to others and to speak deeply on those he knows best.

 

Think of the best conversationalist you know. Do they ask good questions? Are they well-informed?

 

Now picture the colleague you most respect for their professional acumen. Do they seem literate, open-minded, and intellectually vibrant?

Perhaps your experiences will differ, but if you’re like me, I suspect those you admire most, both personally and professionally, are those who seem most dedicated to learning and growth.

Our capacity for learning is a cornerstone of human flourishing and motivation. We are uniquely endowed with the capacity for learning, creation, and intellectual advancement.

 

Have you ever sat in a quiet place and finished a great novel in one sitting? Do you remember the fulfillment you felt when you last settled into a difficult task — whether a math problem or a foreign language course — and found yourself making breakthrough progress? Have you ever worked with a team of friends or colleagues to master difficult material or create something new?

 

These experiences can be electrifying. And even if education had no impact on health, prosperity, or social standing, it would be entirely worthwhile as an expression of what makes every person so special and unique.

The reasons to continue learning are many, and the weight of the evidence would indicate that lifelong learning isn’t simply an economic imperative but a social, emotional, and physical one as well. We live in an age of abundant opportunity for learning and development.

 

Capturing that opportunity — maintaining our curiosity and intellectual humility — can be one of life’s most rewarding pursuits.