Essential Principles, Practices and Panaceas, A – Z: Lifelong Learning

lifelong learning haiku

There is no end to education. It is not that you read a book, pass an examination, and finish with education. The whole of life, from the moment you are born to the moment you die, is a process of learning. Jiddu Krishnamurti

I’m a big fan of lifelong learning, and not just because I have a PGCE in the sector. I’m convinced that a desire to learn has contributed to me overcoming seemingly insurmountable challenges and developing as a person; lifelong learning has considerably enriched my life.

Jeff Cobb has outlined 5 key benefits of lifelong learning:

  1. Economic: the saying is that the more you learn, the more you earn.
  2. Intellectual: not exclusively academic; for example, creativity is nourished.
  3. Cognitive: keeping the brain stimulated is said to ward off senility.
  4. Social: brings us into contact with others; social connections have been shown to increase not only our happiness, but also our lifespan.
  5. Spiritual: as in nurturing the spirit, increasing zest for life.

I’ve discovered Jeff’s findings to be true. Willingness to learn has opened my mind to the extent that I am inexhaustibly curious about our world and its inhabitants, attesting to Philo of Alexandria’s axiom that: Learning is by nature curiosity. I can honestly say that I’m never bored.

Where are you on the disinterested – engaged with life spectrum?

Henry Ford said that: Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. It could be argued I’m living proof that; people tell me I don’t look my age, and I’m sure it’s as much to do with an interest in the world as it is good genes. Fascination with life keeps my spirits up and my outlook cheerful.

Is your attitude to life one of apathy or playfulness?

I have to acknowledge that I have learned the most from my mistakes; I could be said to embody Richard Bach’s assertion that: There are no mistakes. The events we bring upon ourselves, no matter how unpleasant, are necessary in order to learn what we need to learn; whatever steps we take, they’re necessary to reach the places we’ve chosen to go. Would I have undergone the essential personal transformation I have were it not for my gargantuan mistake? I doubt it would have happened in the way it did; there was only one way to make sense of my experience, and that was to learn – fast.

What have you learned from your slip-ups?

Walt Whitman asked: Have you learned the lessons only of those who admired you, and were tender with you, and stood aside for you? Have you not learned great lessons from those who braced themselves against you and disputed passage with you? I can’t deny that the person whose actions led to my steepest, and most influential, learning curve was the perpetrator of violence against me. Having said that, there have been caring human beings without whose teaching I would not be in the position I am today.

Who have you learned the most from?

A hunger for learning, including learning what I am passionate about, has enabled me to make the most of my abilities. I sometimes wonder how my life would have turned out had I not blundered in the ways I have; would I still be trapped in the thorny, ensnaring briar of the immature ego? I’m not entirely sure I’d choose to endure such heartbreak to attain my hard-won wisdom, although I wouldn’t be anyone other than who I now am.

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross sums it up well: Learning lessons is a little like reaching maturity. You’re not suddenly more happy, wealthy, or powerful, but you understand the world around you better, and you’re at peace with yourself. Learning life’s lessons is not about making your life perfect, but about seeing life as it was meant to be

Learning from my experiences has given me insight and helped me to find meaning in my life. It has made me resilient; I’m able to remain calm in a crisis and face life head on, no matter what.

Lifelong learning has improved the quality of my life and my life satisfaction.

I concur with Louise Hay’s opinion that: The gateways to wisdom and learning are always open, and more and more I am choosing to walk through them. Barriers, blocks, obstacles, and problems are personal teachers giving me the opportunity to move out of the past and into the Totality of Possibilities.

When I do this, possibilities do appear unlimited; it’s a fortunate place to be. Care to join me?