In the UK, it’s pretty common to spend about the first quarter of your life in education. That’s a lot of time dedicated to learning new things. Yet, once we finish high school or university, this suddenly comes to a screeching halt. We enter the working world and reuse the same skills over and over again for years to come, rarely learning something new.
Learning comes in many forms. You can learn an entirely new subject, learn a new language, a new skill or even just learn from someone else’s life experience. However, when life gets busy, striving for the new instead of sticking to the familiar can seem out of reach. Here are 3 simple reasons why learning should be a priority even after finishing education:
1) To be a decent human being
The world moves incredibly fast. The internet means there is a huge amount of information at literally our fingertips through our phones and with that comes huge changes regarding values, inclusivity and sharing of different life stories. Things that were seen as okay 20 (or even 10) years ago are finally recognised as wrong and hurtful. Movements, such as Black Lives Matter, were able to gain worldwide traction thanks to the power of social media.
In this world, not being informed of these issues is simply ignorance. Everyone should learn and keep themselves informed using trustworthy sources in order to understand the root of the problem and how you can play your part in positive change. Refusing to learn in this context means refusing to participate in the societal change we are undergoing.
I also personally think that learning another language is a huge part of this process, especially for those with English as their only language. It is recognising that if you expect other countries to speak English when they come to your country (US and UK in particular), you should at least know the basics of their language when visiting their country.
2) To elevate your career
The working world today is vastly different from even 5 years ago. Switching careers frequently is no longer looked down upon, but often even recommended for faster job advancement and better benefits. With this in mind, continued learning is key to being competitive in this new landscape as well as being able to access a wide range of different career paths. Even if you decided to stay within your career path or current role, continued learning and qualifications will make you stand out from the crowd and give you an edge in terms of your approach to solving problems. Taking classes or online courses on different topics can also help you figure out where you want to go next in your career and discover new interests.
In general, a varied skill set is required across all jobs in today’s working world and will ensure you are able to tackle a large variety of tasks confidently.
3) For yourself
Continued learning throughout one’s lifetime has proven benefits for your physical and mental health. Studies have shown that learning new things frequently can delay symptoms of Alzheimer’s, improve your overall cognitive function and reduce the risk of several neurological conditions. Moreover, it improves your mental wellbeing through increased self-confidence and self-esteem, building a sense of purpose and being able to build connections easier. This will have a positive knock-on effect on how you perceive yourself, your relationships and just your general outlook on life.
I also think learning is an important way to keep challenging yourself in order not to become complacent with life. There is so much still to learn and experience, you just have to be willing to step outside your comfort zone.
Do you agree with these reasons for continued learning? Do you have any you think should be added? Leave a comment!