Hey Friend! Are you a Lifelong Learner? It’s one of the things I aspire to be. Sometimes I’m on fire, right there with Leonardo Da Vinci when he said, “The noblest pleasure is the joy of understanding.”
I know that the path to improvement in all areas is LEARNING.
“Learning is the beginning of wealth…health…spirituality. Searching and learning is where the miracle process all begins.” ~Jim Rohn
But sometimes life gets in the way of this lofty aspiration! Sometimes I’m stuck on auto-pilot parroting through my days hitting all the have-to’s that I don’t make learning a priority.
Do you want to know more things about more things? Do you see the gap between where you want to be and where you are now and know that more education would propel you there — but it feels overwhelming?
Well, Friend, let’s break this down.
Here are 8 great reasons why we need to be Lifelong Learners.
live an exciting life
Learning brings joy, wonder, and surprise into your life. It’s like sampling all the ice cream flavors at Baskin Robbins after only eating vanilla cones from McDonalds all your life. You don’t even know what you don’t know until you get out there and start sampling.
Learning inspires you to try this new thing or that new activity. Life becomes rich and exhilarating.
Who knew poetry written over a hundred years ago could stir your soul so deeply you cry.
Or walking through the eternal city of Rome with its layers of history would change how you see the world and your place in it?
Or learning to paddle a kayak would awaken your spirit to moments of awe not experienced before your time on the water?
“Find something you’re passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it.” ~Julia Child
When you feel so much joy from the things you are learning, you love learning and seek it out all your life. If you stop learning you limit the abundance in your life. Live an ABUNDANT LIFE by being a lifelong learner.
prepare for life mission
Be prepared to successfully fulfill life missions by learning all you can about everything you can.
We are told in scripture to study pretty much everything: the doctrine and gospel of Christ, science, history, prophecies, current events, things at home and things abroad, governments and nations, and the people and countries of the world.
That’s an intense curriculum!
Then God tells us WHY:
“That ye may be prepared in all things when I shall send you again to magnify the calling wherewith I have called you, and the mission with which I have commissioned you.”~Doctrine and Covenants 88:78-80
Everything you learn could prepare you in some way for life mission – to successfully do the work God commissions you to do. You are needed to spread joy, truth, beauty, and abundance. It would be so sad to miss opportunities because we were not prepared.
“Part of the tragedy you must avoid is to discover too late that you missed an opportunity to prepare for a future only God could see for you.”
~ Henry B. Eyring.
Russell M. Nelson, a former heart surgeon and current leader of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints tells how he acted on an invitation to learn mandarin Chinese.
He and his wife hired a tutor and learned Chinese at home. Later he attended a medical conference and by chance found himself sitting next to a Chinese doctor. Nelson began speaking to him in Chinese.
That was the beginning of numerous visits to China to teach in medical schools and to later perform the heart surgery of a well-loved Chinese national opera singer. See here for entire story.
No only did it open up many doors for him professionally and diplomatically for the Church, through his interactions in China several of his Chinese friends grew in their faith of Jesus Christ and were baptized.
All because he chose to learn Chinese.
It is exciting to think what opportunities await when we seek learning.
discover truth to live by
If you were to ask 100 people what it means to live a good life, you would get 100 different answers. Through lifelong learning you can sift out the good ideas from the bad and develop your life’s philosophy from the best ideas you find.
“…learning in the sense of growth and change, of insight leading to improvement, of knowing the truth, which in turn leads us closer to the God of all truth.” ~ Jeffrey R. Holland
Confidence comes in anchoring your life in true principles. You can move forward with purpose and vision.
This process of finding truth to live by takes searching, practicing, praying, and humility. A life spent learning.
There is so much to learn and truth to be found. When we feel content that we know all that there is to know, or that we want to know, our progress stops. Lifelong learning is a never-ending search for truth.
I often say, “I have a lot to learn,” because the more I know, the more I know I don’t know!
“I am still learning.” ~Michelangelo at age 87
success in all areas of your life
Where would you like to see more success in your life? Do you want more connection in your relationships? Better health? More financial security? Greater faith?
You can have it!
There are laws that govern success in every area of our lives. Our responsibility and privilege is to learn those laws and live them. All areas of life improve when we learn and apply principles of truth.
“There are …immutable natural laws that are always in existence…You can either work with them or you can work against them…They apply to every area of life.” ~Audrey Rindlisbacher
For example, there are laws that govern happy relationships. Learn them, live them, and watch your relationships flourish.
Learn what the laws of good health are. Live them, and enjoy greater strength and wellness.
Find out what the laws are to creating wealth. Live them and experience financial security.
Understand and apply the laws of faith and develop steadfast and immovable faith.
“Blessings are always granted upon obedience to the law upon which those blessings are predicated…if you really want a certain blessing, you’d better find out what the laws are that govern that blessing and then work on becoming obedient to those laws (see D&C 130:20–21).” Russell M. Nelson.
Not that this process is easy and works like magic. It’s not a quick-fix to problems. Even after discovering laws and how to live them, we won’t always be perfect at it. It will take work, determination, and lots of trial and error.
But the alternative is worse. Dismissing the reality and power of natural law is like jumping into a raft on a turbulent river – without paddles. You are pushed around, rushed with the current, and sometimes stuck in circling eddies. You end up far from where you wanted to be and wonder why.
We are affected by natural law whether we like it or not – even if we don’t believe in it, know about it, or like it. Natural law does’t discriminate between people.
In the river of life it’s better to know what laws govern our world and actually have power to navigate. If we don’t steer we will go where that river takes us even if we think we are in control.
The good news is that natural laws CAN BE FOUND! Someone somewhere has been successful at the thing you’re trying to be successful at. They have discovered the laws that govern that thing. Chances are they have written a book about it. They have taught others how to do it too. Their wisdom and knowledge is there for those who search it out.
“All of the insights that we might ever need have already been captured by others in books. The important question is this: In the last 90 days, with this treasure of information that could change our lives, our fortunes, our relationships, our health, our children and our careers for the better, how many books have we read?” ~Jim Rohn
For fun I created some inspirational bookmarks to help keep my place in my books and give me a shot in the arm when I need a little inspiration. Maybe you’d like them too for all the books you’re going to dig into. They were a lot of fun to make and are my free gift to you – you grab them at the end of this article. Just having a little something to inspire you can make all the difference.
“Seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith.”
~Doctrine and Covenants 88:118
What laws and principles are you not living – maybe because you haven’t learned them yet – that could bring more success in every area of your life?
rewire your brain in good ways
Our brains create pathways of energetic connection. Each thought we have creates a path in our minds. The first thought of it’s kind it’s like bushwhacking through a jungle. Hard, laborious work that barely gets through the tangled vines.
But the next time we have that same thought the way is a little easier. As we habitually think specific thoughts, the trail gets more defined. Pretty soon if we keep thinking that thought a clear path is created in our brains.
And our minds are efficient. Rather than hacking out a new path of thought, our brains take us down the easiest well-groomed path.
This phenomenon can work for us or against us! When we are stuck in paths of habitual worry, grief, guilt, or trauma, it is working against us. When we create and sustain habits of positive thoughts, this process can be our best friend!
What does this all have to do with being a lifelong learner? Scientists have found that we can rewire our brains to get ourselves out of negative ruts and create new, more healthy pathways.
We can overcome old thought patterns and create new abundant ones.
When you engage in sustained, mentally challenging learning such as creating with digital photography software, or quilting, or snow skiing, you use the machete to forge new paths in your mind. Keep trudging through the work of learning that new thing and soon the path will be well trampled. Your mind will take you down new pathways instead of down old negative roads.
This science is called neural plasticity and “refers to the brain’s ability to change its structure and function by expanding or strengthening the neural circuits that are used, while shrinking, or weakening those that are rarely engaged.” (Christopher Bergland, author of The Athlete’s Way)
“Recent advances in neuroscience have shown us that the brain is far more malleable than we ever knew. Research on brain plasticity has shown how connectivity between neurons can change with experience. With practice, neural networks grow new connections, strengthen existing ones, and build insulation that speeds transmission of impulses. These neuroscientific discoveries have shown us that we can increase our neural growth.” mindsetworks.com
As you spend time on the new healthy pathways, and intentionally stay off the pathways that don’t serve you, the old ones shrink and grow weak with little use. You spend less time on unhealthy neurological pathways and more time living an abundant life.
Frederick Douglass was a former slave who clawed his way out of slavery by teaching himself to read and write. He wrote a memoir of his life as an American slave in 1848. In it he tells how, as a young boy, he serendipitously learned the secret to the white slaveholder’s power: education. From his narrative we read of a time his master caught the mistress teaching Frederick his ABC’s and forbade her teach Frederick anymore, saying:
“ ‘If you teach that n*** how to read, there would be no keeping him. It would forever unfit him to be a slave.’ Douglass continues, From that moment, I understood the pathway from slavery to freedom…Though conscious of the difficulty of learning without a teacher, I set out with high hope, and a fixed purpose, at whatever cost of trouble, to learn how to read.” Frederick Douglass, The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, p. 29
This power, the ability to read, write, and to learn, was violently safeguarded and greedily withheld from the slave to keep him in servitude. Through reading and writing Frederick Douglass gained a mindset of freedom and the skills to acquire it. He learned new ideas that shattered the roof of his understanding and led him to achieve a far better life. He learned the skills and abilities to break the bands of slavery that held him in bondage.
See, by keeping the slave ignorant, the slave was docile and knew nothing more than his life of servitude. Once he could learn about the wide world of possibility and freedom, he was not longer content to live in bondage but aspired for something greater.
“Douglass articulated that real freedom started with an educated and fertile mind and the ability to think critically. His education also gave him the ability to discern.” Stan Simpson
When we choose to stop learning, we limit our possibilities and freedom. We fall complacent with things as they are, even if the situation is awful. We have no motivation or heart to make things better. We don’t even know what the possibilities are to make a better life. So we drudge through the muck of mediocrity and bondage to bad ideas and habits.
Let’s break free!
After the birth of my youngest daughter, I was stuck in a terrible cycle of anxiety and panic attacks. I HATED the anxiety that plagued me. I would have done anything to get out of it.
I tried everything I knew: prayer, medicine, counseling, nutrition, fasting, exercise. As I continued my desperate search for relief I learned about the power of thoughts and the mental work that I could do to change the neuropathways in my brain.
Adding that piece of knowledge to the other things I was already doing was the missing piece – the missing principle I needed to free myself from the iron shackles of anxiety.
What bad ideas and habits are you in bondage to that are keeping you from living a more abundant life? Imagine! Somewhere out there is the knowledge you need to help you break free from limiting beliefs, scarcity mindset, and a mediocre life.
Friend, you are unfit to be in bondage!
Gain the knowledge that will make you free.
“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” ~John 8:32
innovate and create
I recently listened to an interview of members of a bluegrass band. The interviewer asked where their ideas for new songs came from. I anticipated something like feeling sad over a heartbreak, or thrill of a sunrise.
Guess what they said? 3 things:
- Listening to other artists’ songs.
- Learning the process of how other songwriters write.
- Brainstorming together where one musician plays a line with a story idea and the other adds onto it.
Bill Stainton gave an awesome Ted talk about how ideas are not created in a vacuum. He claims that ideas build on other ideas.
“Creativity (which is simply the process of coming up with ideas) is all about connecting dots. These dots can be anything: ideas, experiences, people. And so it stands to reason, doesn’t it, that the more of these dots you have available to you, and the more different they are, the more creative your ideas will be.” ~Bill Stainton
Scientists found that people were able to come up with a greater number of ideas and more novel ideas when they were building on top of other’s ideas.
Keep learning! Fill your mind with ideas, experiences, people, places, and skills that will be springboards for your own creativity and innovation.
influence the world for good
Education opens your mind to people and situations outside yourself that need help. Besides awareness, learning gives you the skills and the abilities to help in meaningful and lasting ways. It gives you a more comprehensive perspective.
Lifelong learners can confidently:
- help a neighbor with a stalled car
- teach a refugee to speak English
- raise compassionate children
- help an elderly friend install podcasts on her phone
- teach people in third world countries how to create a business
- help a friend who is terminally ill express her feelings through painting
- understand how to comfort a grieving friend
- cook nourishing and delicious food
- help your son heal from an earache
- vote in an informed way
- help a friend through a crisis of faith
- speak out on an issue that matters to you
- lead in an organization
- create a home where a successful family can grow
And the list is as endless as there are things to learn and needs in the world. The more you know the more you are able to get out there and do some good in the world.
Hey friend, it’s so easy in our world of instant information to think we know it all. That anything we might need to know can be googled. But unless we engage our brains in meaningful and intentional ways, our knowledge is as temporary as a google search. Just because the information is at our fingertips doesn’t mean it’s accessible to our hearts when we need to act on it. When it comes to truly living a life of excitement, purpose, truth, success, freedom, creativity, and service to others, the only permanent source is lifelong learning.
Keep your reading organized and inspired!
Grab your bookmarks for FREE here.
Yes! I want the bookmarks!
These FREE bookmarks are my gift to you when you subscribe to receive inspirational notes from me in your inbox (don’t worry! I’ll only send great stuff and never send spam!). When you sign up you’ll have access to my private Gifts for You Collection here at my website where I keep the bookmarks and a whole lot of other awesome resources to help you live life more abundantly.
Here are a few of my favorite resources to help you on your path to lifelong learning.