Actively seeking to acquire knowledge, skills, and experiences throughout the entire life: being a lifelong learner is a mindset and a commitment to continuous personal and professional development throughout one’s life. It involves an active and intentional approach to learning that goes beyond traditional educational settings.
According to many universities, the benefit of lifelong learning is well documented and researched. In a recent article, Utah State University’s Extension Assistant Professor Emma Parkhurst summarizes the main benefits for mental health. They are:
- Self-esteem and confidence: “Adult learning has been shown to increase self-esteem, confidence, and self-efficacy throughout the lifespan, but may be most effective when the concepts or skills are meeting a need for the learner. It also increases confidence in our ability to learn and to share the information with others, and gives us a sense of purpose.”
- Cognition and memory: “As we age, it is common to experience a mental decline which may affect our memory. Research shows that continuing to learn throughout the lifespan may reduce our risk of dementia as we age and keep the mind sharp.”
- Social connection: “Research shows that most people are likely to find connections with like-minded people that share similar interests. Engaging in lifelong learning can present opportunities to develop new relationships with other learners, or to nurture existing connections by sharing or exchanging knowledge.”
- Positivity and accomplishment: “Some experts suggest that setting and achieving goals and learning new skills can lead to positive feelings of accomplishment. People engaged in learning report feeling better about themselves and a greater ability to cope with stress, as well has feeling a greater sense of hope and purpose.”
And if that’s not enough, the University of Cincinnati, also in the United States, has added other reasons to adopt lifelong learning right away:
- It’s good for your brain and your mental health
Research shows mental activity could stave off age-related cognitive and memory decline. Lifelong learning can also enhance self-esteem while giving you a sense of purpose and hope and feelings of competency.
- It could lead to beneficial career advancements
The landscape of the workforce is forever changing and becoming a lifelong learner is one the best things you can do to increase your employability. Show your employer that you’re willing to adapt and continuously learn new skills.
- It will help you develop practical skills
Whether you’re looking to build on a skill you already have or explore a topic that is completely new to you, continued education can help you develop practical skills that will enrich all aspects of your life.
- When you find your passion, you find your people
Studies find that people are hard-wired to look for relationships with “like-minded people,” meaning that they have similar interests. Other studies have also found that individuals bond over passions for hobbies and rare interests.
Source: USU | University of Cincinnati