“Learning is an ornament in prosperity, a refuge in adversity, and a provision in old age.”
When was the last time that YOU actively learned a new thing? Last night? Last month? Last year? Last century? Some of us believe that once we are through with school, then there is no need to learn anything new. This is because of the wrong notion we have – that learning is mainly for academic purposes or to further our career and thus increase our finances. These are great reasons but that is not all.
Learning is fun. You can actually learn for learning sake. This is even more fun because you know you are learning say yoga, website design, photography, horse riding, chess playing and whatever interests you, just because you can! You prove to yourself that you can actually put your brain to good use, task yourself, complete a project/assignment without any outside coercion. It leaves you with a great feeling of happiness and fulfillment – ‘I did this by myself and for myself, wow***’.
I love learning, its challenges, the possibility of finding out what I am good at and what might be difficult for me to do. In recent years, I have delved into computer hardware, gender equality, monitoring and evaluation, blogging and everything in between. Now I’ve gone into the kitchen to learn more about cooking. Learning offers you the opportunity to learn more about yourself. For instance, when a friend of mine suggested I try my hands on computer related courses, I scoffed at him. How can someone that flopped in her sciences, (especially Mathematics, winks***) hope to learn anything about computers? Nevertheless, he encouraged me and I took it up online. I didn’t go in depth mind you, but I surprised myself I tell ya. It was the most challenging so far and thus the most fun for me, a great achievement for me. I intend going back for more sometime soon I hope. So yes, in learning new things, we learn more about ourselves too and thus boost our self-esteem.
I read somewhere too, that learning something new helps one achieve happiness and fulfillment in life. It takes your mind off things and opens the mind to eternal possibilities. I agree completely.
Delving into new areas, learning about new things helps one to stay sharp and improve one’s mental acuity. I know how efficient my brain when it is being challenged to learn and how slow and lazy it becomes when I let it lie dormant. It is a use it or lose it situation. Scientists even say that the brain changes with learning, a concept they termed plasticity. For instance, when you become an expert in a certain field, that part of the brain that deals with such skill grows. They opine that learning ‘rewrites the brain’.
The importance of learning to our careers cannot be over emphasized. Little wonder many organizations train and retrain their staff often. However, you need not wait for your employer to train you before you realize your importance in that competitive career and your advancement in your field relies mainly on your ability to learn, relearn and unlearn.
Self-improvement consists in learning and unlearning as a continuous process. If you wish to become a better person, an improved version of you, then you must keep learning, keep improving.
There is also the issue of unlearning. We can unlearn the negative attitudes, beliefs, skills that we acquired while growing up. One can unlearn the art of picking pocket, feeling of inferiority complex, laziness and such. They are all part of self-improvement.
It is never too late to start, never. Learn about that stuff you have liked for years; painting, writing, singing, reading, etc. It matters not if you pass or fail, you must have gained something useful from the experience. You can take baby steps, one day at a time, one little project after the other till you begin to yearn to learn. It might not always be easy and fun, but you can challenge yourself to do anything.
“The beautiful thing about learning is that nobody can take it away from you.”
― B.B. King
photo from huffpost