Monday, April 24, 2006

Are you a lifelong learner?

Would you consider yourself to be a lifelong learner? Do you make an effort to get out there and learn something new on a regular basis? Do you constantly try to develop your skills and knowledge? I was thinking about this as I worked out this morning. (I’ve noticed that I usually have a ‘thought theme’ for my workout and, by the time the workout ends, I often have a blog entry ‘written’ in my head just ready and waiting to be typed out.)

I started out thinking about the courses that I had taken/have signed up for so far this year: I qualified as a Retirement Coach in February. Then I started on a year-long, 'live life over 40 with more purpose, passion and pizzazz' course which complements the retirement coaching perfectly. On May 3rd I start a course which will qualify me to deliver P.R.I.N.T. assessments, (Print is a tool that offers a way to identify the personality characteristics of your clients, giving tremendous insights into their "unconscious motivators" and behaviors) and I have attended several one-off, hour-long teleclasses on diverse subjects such as ‘How to coach in public’, The power of games to teach and inspire’, 'Public speaking' and‘The Energetics of Attraction’ (most of which were free to attend). Added to this are the 100 or so books that I have read since the beginning of the year...

One of the things that makes successful people stand out from the rest is a willingness to learn and keep on learning. Don’t be one of the majority of people who never read a book once they leave school. Readers are leaders. Stop watching TV (or, at least, watch less of it) and commit to spending at least half an hour a day reading books that will develop you personally and professionally. An added bonus of this is that a commitment to reading (and learning in general) could have a knock-on effect on your health and wellbeing in later years.

In his book, 'Aging with Grace', Dr David Snowden writes about a study he carried out which involved a group of 678 nuns. Many of the nuns were over 90 years of age and 6 of them were over 100 years of age, yet very few of them showed any signs of losing their faculties or developing Alzheimer's disease. Although the nuns had lead healthy lives - they were physically active and none of them drank or smoked - the researchers felt that their mental acuity was attributable to something more than this. Most of the nuns were teachers and they all shared a love of learning which meant that they were constantly reading and exposing themselves to stimulating new subjects and ideas. The nuns agreed to donate their brains to medical science after their death so that the study could be continued. Half of the brains analyzed were found to have fully-blown Alzheimer's disease in advanced stages - yet the nuns had never shown any signs or symptoms of this. A good advert for lifelong learning if ever you needed one!

So, what would you like to learn?
What interests you?
What would you like to know more about?
What skills would you like to develop?
What skills would be useful to you?
In which subject would you like to be known as an expert?

Take some action now. Track down that course you’ve always wanted to take. Sign up for a teleclass. Visit your local library. Sign up for that training course at work...

What could you do to make sure you learn something new every day?

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