In my last post, I told you why I think it’s beneficial to always be learning. We should all be lifelong learners, because learning keeps our minds sharp and our lives interesting.
Unfortunately, few of us are spoonfed learning opportunities. The responsibility is ours alone. We have to architect our own opportunities to learn.
Don’t worry, though. It’s so much easier than you might think. And it doesn’t always involve taking classes. It’s about knowing where to look. In this slideshow and post, here are a few tips on how to never stop learning.
Click through this presentation to view the tips as a slideshow, or scroll down.
Be a Learning Opportunist.
Being a lifelong learner requires a certain mindset. You can and should plan structured learning activities. But if you pay attention, you’ll also discover unstructured learning opportunities everywhere you look. Seize those opportunities whenever they arise.
Setting learning targets helps you keep your eyes on the prize. It ensures that you have a long-term vision for your personal development, and a path to achieve it. But setting proactive learning goals is only half the equation. Make sure to revisit your goals regularly, and to hold yourself accountable to them.
Schedule Time for Learning.
If you want to achieve your goals, remember to break them down into smaller goals, and then set aside time each week or month for learning. Stick to your learning “appointments”, as you would any other meeting. Make learning a priority.
Learn by the Book.
Reading remains one of the best ways to acquire knowledge. In addition to books, take advantage of online resources like articles and blogs. Or multitask your commutes by listening to audiobooks and podcasts.
Take a Course.
Yes, you’ll find in-person training at your local college or community center. But there are other avenues too. Lynda.com and Udemy.com offer a wide range of online courses on a multitude of topics, which you can follow at your own pace.
Try New Ways of Doing Things.
In your day-to-day life, be on the lookout for repeating tasks that take too long or produce mediocre results. Invest a few extra minutes to learn how to do them the right way. The investment will pay off down the road in time savings and quality improvements.
Keep a Watchful Eye.
If you have a curious mind, you’ll learn a ton just by observing the people around you – both at work and in your personal life. Watch how they relate to people, how they respond to challenging situations. Their way won’t always be the best way, but it might challenge your thinking, which is never a bad thing.
Ask and Ye Shall Receive.
Get into the habit of asking questions when someone says something you don’t understand. Request feedback and advice from people you respect. I’m always happy to answer questions when somebody wants to learn. I’m pretty sure I am not alone on that front.
Leverage Your Strengths.
Identify and capitalize on your natural talents. If you’re already good at something, why not invest some time into getting even better? Because of your natural propensities, that investment is even more likely to pay off.
Recognize and work on areas where you need improvement. Your weaknesses don’t have to remain weaknesses. Arm yourself with solid training and you could turn your weaknesses into strengths.
Connect the Dots.
Pick up new skills that leverage those you have. For example, if you love to draw and you’re great with technology, consider taking an Adobe Illustrator class. You might be really good at it and it will be a great way to get more mileage out of the skills you already have.
Be a Little Fearless.
Don’t shy away from new challenges. Get out of your comfort zone. The more you do it, the less it will scare you.
Learn in Style.
Recognize and respect your preferred learning style, whether you prefer to learn by seeing, by hearing or by doing.
Apply What You Learn.
Cement your newly acquired knowledge by applying it to new situations.
Over to You
Are you an avid learner? What are some of the more creative or unconventional avenues you have followed to acquire knowledge? How did they work out? Have I missed any great sources of knowledge? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.
Carole Alalouf is the President and founder of Exaltus, and primary contributor to the Exaltus blog. In her Content Marketing role, she focuses on turning her clients’ complex information into a compelling story. Carole particularly enjoys visual storytelling in the form of presentations, whiteboard videos, websites, and infographics. Sign up to her email list and get powerful marketing tips in your inbox, 2-3 times per month.