“The quickest way to become an old dog is to stop learning new tricks.”  This is a great quote from John Rooney that summarises the need to continue to learn throughout your life.

Living in the Knowledge Age as we are, it is more important than ever to focus on continuing to develop and grow our minds, equipping us for a great career and more fulfilling life.  Tony Robbins calls it constant and never-ending improvement, describing this process as critical for any successful person.

People who are focussed upon life-long learning equip themselves better for their career, are more creative, are better problem solvers and feel more able to deal with some of the challenges that life presents.

Sadly, over the years I’ve come across many people who think that it’s too late and they can’t learn anything else.  Whether it’s through low self-esteem, habitual thinking or just laziness, I want to assure you that a life of learning is available for everyone.

Here are a few simple tips that I hope are of assistance.

Start a new hobby.  Learning doesn’t have to be hard work!  One of the best ways to keep you mind active is to start a new hobby or interest.  Doing so can be very stimulating for the mind as you research and read, learn from mentors and try new skills. 

I remember my granddad learning wood-turning well after he retired and this new interest kept him busy for hours as he practised in his old shed.  He would never have called himself a person of intellect or wisdom, but his ability to continually learn throughout his life kept him young and vibrant.

It doesn’t matter what the new hobby is, whether it’s going to the gym, starting a blog, knitting, photography or anything else you could imagine.  Give it a go and start activating the mind.

Create a habit of reading.  One of the best ways to become a life-long learner is to create a habit of reading on a daily basis. 

Personally, I start the day by reading from my bible (always a great place to start to get the mind ticking).  I also have a list of blogs that I read on a regular basis as the writers continually challenge my thinking and keep me from getting stale.  Additionally, I usually have a few books going at once that I’m reading.  At the moment, I’m reading books by Joel Comiskey, Bill Hybels and Paul de Jong that are giving me ideas to improve my work, leadership skills and further develop myself.

Set a reading goal for yourself.  It could be to read for 15 minutes a day, or to read 10 books per year.  Whatever it is, make sure that you put aside this time in your daily routine, your mind will thank you for it.

Do a course.  It doesn’t have to be a PhD or a Master’s Degree (although don’t let me stop you if that’s you goal), but just the act of researching, enrolling and attending a course at your local TAFE or Community College can get you excited about learning.  Try not to bite off more than you can chew as this can intimidate you before you start, but have a think about a short course that you will benefit from that is still manageable.  It could be a course that will assist you in your current vocation or it could be something that could assist you in moving across to a different career that interests you.

There are many other ways of continuing to learn, but the important thing is to make sure that you are focussed on deliberately educating yourself and taking action to move towards these learning opportunities.

To quote Abraham Lincoln, “I don’t think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday.” 

What are you going to learn about in the next 24 hours?

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