A Personal Lesson on Learning

We are told from infancy, that we should “Get a good education.” Most people today, associate learning with formal education at school, college, university etc.  While I believe formal education is important; I don’t think we should be defined by our education credentials.

“Musicians don’t retire, they stop when there is no music in them.”                       – Louis Armstrong

I think this quote, goes hand-in-hand with learning. You never reach this point where you’re like, “Yup. I’ve learned it all, I officially know everything.”

Learning is never stagnant; it’s a constant process that evolves over time. So in essence, you never really stop learning.

I remember this moment, back in college. I was meeting with my college counselor, and we were discussing my plans for the future. “Where do you see yourself in 5 years, 10 years? What’s your game plan? Are you going for your Bachelors or Masters degree?” she asked.  The truth was, I didn’t have an exact picture of where I would be in 5 or 10 years. And I wasn’t sure if I even wanted to go for a degree. And I was okay with that, because I knew that learning for me, went much deeper than a classroom setting. I craved knowledge. And I wanted to learn as much as I can.

While I believe traditional learning, i.e. classrooms, high school education and college education is important. Schooling is only ONE type of learning, there are unlimited platforms for learning. Whether it’s taking a class, reading a book, listening to a podcast, tuning into a webinar, learning a new language, or traveling the world and exploring a new culture. The result is the same, you’re learning something new.

Today, the pursuit of knowledge and learning has never been easier. With all the technological advances, access to information is at our fingertips 24/7. We have access to unlimited knowledge. Learning on the go has never been easier! There are audio books & podcasts that are perfect to incorporate into your daily routine. I love playing a podcast when I’m at the gym or stuck in traffic. And as much as I love rocking out to Justin Bieber’s new album, I’ve found that listening to talk radio has been so much more educational for me.

Americans spend an estimated 23 hours every week texting and on social media. (I’m guilty of spending a lot of my time on Instagram, checking Twitter and Snapchat.) Imagine spending a portion of that time, working on your craft or reading a book for your own personal pleasure. You could easily speak five languages and be a fountain of knowledge, just by changing your mindset and small daily habits .

It is said, that those who met Theodore Roosevelt were astonished and impressed by his ability to hold a conversation with anyone regarding any subject. His secret? Roosevelt developed the ability to speed read, and then devoured as many books he could get his hands on. He estimated, he read tens of thousands of books in his lifetime. During his presidency in the White House, he would read a book every day before breakfast, and if he didn’t have any official business in the evening, he’d read 2-3 more books, in addition to newspaper and magazine articles that caught his attention. This resulted in him having the ability to connect with anyone, from any walk of life and speak about something that truly caught the interest of the other person.

I never want to be the type of person, where I learn enough just to get by in the mundane day to day tasks. I want to become the best person I possibly can be. And to do that, requires constant action, by challenging myself to learn something new. Be committed to expanding your mind, continuing your education and becoming a student of life. The world is your classroom, no matter how big or small the lesson is. 

Mahatma Gandhi said it best…

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”

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I like big books & I cannot lie.

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