Top 4 Ways to Be a Lifelong Learner

sitting on porch

Whether you’re enrolled in school finishing your Bachelor’s degree, graduated recently, or have been out in the working world for a long time, there are always things you can do to keep learning. Here are four ways to be a lifelong learner.

1. Seek New Experiences

The best way to keep learning is to keep trying new things. Activities you haven’t done before stretch your mental and physical muscles. Make a habit of doing at least one new thing every day.

      Drive down a different road, take a different mode of transportation, or walk down a street you’ve never explored on your way to work. Simply varying your route can lead to new discoveries about your neighborhood or the neighborhood around your workplace.

      Do something physical you’ve never tried before. Go rock climbing or hiking, learn how to scuba dive, or go for a run instead of walking. Whatever it is, make it new. Make sure you understand safety requirements and take any training you need, then go for it!

      Read authors with whom you disagree. Read commentary written by someone whose politics you despise or try fiction in genres you usually hate. You might discover common ground or become more confident in your own beliefs and tastes. Either way, you’ll learn something important.

2. Read Books

Reading is one of the most effective ways to learn about new things. In addition to choosing materials that challenge your beliefs, read biographies and non-fiction books about subjects that really interest you. Read research papers and studies – don’t let statistics or scientific jargon scare you away. Read the coverage of major news events from different sources to see how each reporter slants the story. The more you read, the more you’ll learn, so read as much as possible.

3. Watch Documentaries

Documentaries are a great source of information. You can learn almost as much from watching documentaries as by reading about them. Make a habit of watching documentaries often, and try to watch ones that feature subjects you don’t already know a lot about.

4. Pursue Continuing Education

Year-round, community colleges offer continuing education courses for adults. Take one course every semester to keep your mind sharp, learn new things, and build skills. You can take courses in anything from painting to home repair. Maybe it’s time to go back to school and finish the degree you started years ago with an online degree program.

There’s a famous research study of a group of nuns, where they discovered that nuns who did crossword puzzles were less likely to develop Alzheimer’s or dementia later in life. In other words, be a lifelong learner and you’ll keep your mind active well into your golden years. You’ll also enjoy life more because you’re constantly learning. Try one of these tips, and let us know how it worked for you!


Written by Ashford University staff

Photo credit: "Claiborne Avenue Relaxing" by Derek Bridges - originally posted to Flickr as claiborne. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

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