Learning is a lifelong skill.
We all talk about how valuable learning is and when it comes to kids of any age, we often use the phrase, 'learning journey'.
To be honest, I love this phrase. I use it all the time with my students but I also explain what it means at the beginning of the year.
If you think about any journey you might go on, you know there are a couple of different parts to the journey. There are the parts that are easy and fun to do and we head into those parts of our journey with anticipation and excitement because we know that it is going to be fun. Then there are the parts that are more challenging and not as fun for us. With these parts of the journey, we often try and talk ourselves out of it or avoid it someway or figure out how to go through it before we actually arrive.
This is no different when you are on a learning journey and little humans are not the only ones who are on a learning journey.
However...my observation (and it is just my observation!) is that while we talk about how valuable the learning journey is for our kids, we don't seem to value it quite as much as adults!
I attended a personal development course a few years ago and I heard the speaker say two things that made me look at learning differently as an adult.
I think as adults, we do learn stuff from day to day but I don't think a lot of us learn as if our life depended on it.
Here is what I have learned when it comes to our own lives...
We happily take responsibility for some areas of our life but not for others.
The moment we take responsibility for everything in our lives is the moment we can change anything in our life. What this means is this: When we are unhappy with our job or a relationship or our health or some part of our life, the moment we realise we are responsible for the situation we are in, we can take control and change it. We change it by actively figuring out what to do and how to change the situation. Then we take action because we are the only ones who can make the changes we want in our life. Taking responsibility is the first step to learning.
Learning is a choice
We can choose to travel along in life and be okay with where we are at. But most people get to a point where they suddenly have the desire for 'something more'. We all have the capacity to learn. The capacity to learn is a gift. We all have the ability to learn. The ability to learn is a skill. But we don't all have the willingness to learn. The willingness to learn is a choice. We can not complain about the direction our life is going if we are not choosing to learn.
Learn as if you will change someone's life
While we are in control of what we do and learn, and we are responsible for our life, there is no doubt that our actions impact other people. I want to explain for a moment, that learning is not strictly bound to reading and studying alone. Learning is also about taking the events in life and recognising what we can do to grow and change from them. Imagine, if you moved through your life, consciously aware that everything that is happening in your life is a lesson you can learn and grow from. Imagine how that would change not only your life but your partner's life or your kid's life! Imagine if you were learning to be the best person you could possibly be and you relied on your own resourcefulness. Imagine how that could change the lives of the people around you. If you want to learn and grow in life, reading, listening, talking to people already doing it or figuring out how to expand the mind and heart and do things better is the only way to do it.
Learn as if your life depended on it
The day we stop learning is the day we stop growing. The day we stop growing is the day we start dying. It is necessary to always walk through life as if you have something new to learn. Without learning there is no growth and life is about growth. You might have experienced the feeling of feeling lost or stagnant. Your life needs growth to avoid this. Mahatma Gandhi said it perfectly when he said. "Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever'.
So what is important to remember?
Every day is a school day. There is something new to learn in every day. Life will present you lessons each day for you to learn and grow. All you have to do is be willing and open to learning.
Never stop learning. Lifelong learning is just that - Life. Long. Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. Whether it is learning new skills, knowledge or life lessons, be open to the journey of learning.
Be a seeker of knowledge. If you don't know what knowledge to seek out, find what is in your heart. Find what brings you joy and go and learn more about that. It does not have to be fancy or complicated! The love of learning is about learning to enjoy new knowledge and experiences and filling your soul up with all of that!
Be patient. It is a journey. Like all journeys, there are parts that will be smooth and other parts that will be bumpy. There will be parts that will move slowly and other parts will be faster. Be okay with that. Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do
Be willing to learn. If you are not willing to learn no one can help you. If you are determined to learn, you will become unstoppable. Being willing to learn will open up your heart, mind and soul to new experiences, new ideas, new creativity, and new joy. It will open up your life to the endless possibilities and opportunities that were not there before.
All successes begin with self-discipline. It starts with you. The expert in anything was once a beginner. But it is not willpower but discipline that creates consistency in learning.
Gift the gift of the love of learning. If we are successful in giving our little humans the love of learning. the learning itself will follow. But we can not do that if we are not demonstrating it ourselves. We are who they are watching. Teach them that the wisest man still has something to learn. It doesn't matter who you are, where you've come from and what you know - there is always more to learn. Education is not about filling up an empty vessel. It is about the lighting of a fire with the love of learning - whether it is through books, reading, listening to others, experiences, playing. We can give them and ourselves the gift. We can fan the flames.
Until next week...have a week full of learning and fun!
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