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Lifelong Learning is Good for Your Health, Your Wallet and Your Social Life

John Coleman, Harvard Business Review

Updated Service Wide Skills

Overview

All of us know there are benefits to lifelong learning, but few of us have the time, finances or desire to spend time in a classroom. Even with the added convenience of online learning opportunities, most of us still find it difficult to find the time to create a habit of lifelong learning.

As we struggle to fit continued learning into our already busy lives, we ask ourselves: Why is lifelong learning so important?

In the article “Lifelong Learning is Good for Your Health, Your Wallet and Your Social Life,” author John Coleman lists four reasons why we should strive to continue learning throughout our lives and why it is particularly important to keep learning into late adulthood. His reasons are:

  • Educational investments are an economic imperative. Statistically, people with higher degrees earn more throughout their lives than those with those with high school degrees. Increased technology and automation also require a constantly evolving workforce and increase the importance of professional learning and personal growth.
  • Learning is positive for health. In older populations, learning activities can delay Alzheimer’s symptoms, slow cognitive decline and improve memory. There is also a well-studied relationship between higher levels of education and longevity and healthier lifestyles.
  • Being open and curious has profound personal and professional benefits. People who are curious and open to learning are often happier and more socially and professionally engaging that those who aren’t.
  • Our capacity for learning is a cornerstone of human flourishing and motivation. Think about the sense of accomplishment and fulfillment you felt that last time you mastered a new skills or successfully completed a difficult task.

From the Article

As I’ve noted previously, reading, even for short periods of time, can dramatically reduce your stress levels. A recent report in Neurology noted that while cognitive activity can’t change the biology of Alzheimer’s, learning activities can help delay symptoms, preserving people’s quality of life. Other research indicates that learning to play a new instrument can offset cognitive decline, and learning difficult new skills in older age is associated with improved memory.

Reflection

  • When was the last time you took the time to learn something new or master a new skill? How did it make you feel?
  • What are ways you could fit short periods of learning into your day? Video tutorials on YouTube, microlearning courses, podcasts, etc. are great ways to learn something new in just a few minutes a day.
  • How can the CLP help you fit short periods of learning into your schedule on a regular basis?

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