Continuous Learning

Confucius said: I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.

Learning comes in many shapes and sizes. Sometimes you imitate, sometimes you discover, then you remember or tap into your own experience. Learning takes place in formal and informal settings and is a process through which you gain knowledge and ability.

There’s more to it than storing information: you also need effective access to your memory, a keen eye for sensing your environment, the ability to link that to what you already know, apply it as well as recognise patterns. It is the basic requirement for adapting to your surroundings and your life, as it changes and broadens your horizon and helps you adopt updated versions of reality. Unfortunately, as is the case with so many other things: if you don’t use it, you lose it. Skills like speaking foreign languages that aren’t practised regularly are quite easily forgotten.

Continuous or life-long learning has more recently been used in the business world to encourage a pro-active workforce that keeps up to date with not only technological advances but also acquires skills that will allow them to multi-task. A few short decades ago, everything you learned in college or your apprenticeship were sufficient for your whole career – in the fast paced environment we live in now, this is no longer true.

Continuous learning does not necessarily mean getting as many degrees as you can – it has to do with learning how to learn from everything, i.e. from life itself. It’s not only about accepting responsibility for doing the best in your job but also for your self. Keeping an open mind and adopting a positive attitude, it's amazing how much opportunity for learning and improvement is out there!

Without compromising your values (see this post), as a life-long learner you are flexible, unafraid of and open for new experiences, all of which are useful to you in deepening your understanding of yourself, others and the world around you. You’ve known since your schooldays that you can learn anything if you have to… but it’s the stuff that really interests you that you easily master and reach levels of excellence. Keep an open mind, too: Thoughts like “I’ll never get this, I'm too old” or “I’m a girl, what do I know about quantum physics” have a way of proving themselves true eventually. Think and know that you can learn (from) anything you want to.