Lifelong Learning Part 1: Why You Can’t (and Shouldn’t) Stop Learning
My brain is complete mush. I cannot possibly cram another morsel of information into my already jam-packed mind. Like trying to stuff another pair of socks into an already over-flowing drawer, I’ve tried moving other bits of information around, tried rolling the information up into tinier and tinier pieces hoping it will consume less space and make room for new information to be wedged in next to it. I’ve crammed and jammed as much as is possible and my brain is tapped out. More. Just. Won’t. Fit. Versions of the above narrative went through my mind daily while I was completing my Master’s degree. I would read my notes over and over, retaining absolutely nothing, and conclude that I needed a physically larger brain if I was going to remember anything about anything.
Despite sometimes feeling like I’ve got a pea-brain, I continue to seek out education as much as possible – as they say, you learn something new everyday! Here are only 3 reasons why we must never stop learning:
It has become innate. In Canada, we spend a minimum 14 years of our early lives in school (assuming junior kindergarten through the completion of high school). Fourteen years of anything is one hard habit to break! Many people say that September feels like a time of renewal for them, a sort of pre-New Year or “business New Year.” I feel it too, but with the urge to buy new pencils and notebooks. My teaching position at Laurentian allows me to return to that academic environment in September, and it feels comforting and familiar.
You don’t know what you don’t know, until you know you didn’t know it. Y’know? Reiterating the ‘You learn something knew everyday’ idea, I embrace my daily ‘Huh’ moments and recognize that learning doesn’t have to be formal education. From conversations with my partner, to hearing facts on the news, to watching those addictive quick-food recipes on Facebook, to mastering a new online tool for my business, there is so much information that I still don’t know!
The world is ever-changing, and we must adapt or become irrelevant. Think about someone you know who is completely technologically inept: someone who still uses a push-button corded phone, who still walks into the bank to pay their bills, or who makes all purchases with cash only. Chances are this person is over the age of 75 (I’m thinking particularly of my 94-year-old grandmother), and they probably feel like there’s no point in learning new technologies at this point in their life. What are they missing by refusing to learn? How many grandparents are missing out on video chats with their grandkids? As a business owner, how many sales are you sacrificing by avoiding services that your tech-savvy clients desire? Continued education in the ways of today’s world helps us maintain connections with others, which makes this big world we live in feel just a little bit smaller.
We live in a country where we CAN learn. Today is Remembrance Day. By embracing the freedoms for which our veterans fought, we continue to honour their sacrifices and ensure they were not for nothing.
These are only a few of the many reasons why we should strive to continue to learn as much as possible. Next week, in Part 2 of this post, I’ll talk about my personal choices for educational development, and hopefully inspire you to try some new things as well!