Always keep in mind that stagnation is the enemy of progress; you won’t get to where you want to go if you don’t put in the effort to make it possible. Here’s how you can achieve your goals and aspirations to advance your career through the wonders of lifelong learning:
Step 1: Make a List of Everything You Want to Learn
The most important thing that you have to remember is that lifelong learning begins and ends with your own goals. This self-initiated study is conducted so that you can realize your dreams and achieve your goals without external pressures forcing you to conform to the societal standards of success.
You won’t be able to appreciate the benefits of learning if you’re not motivated to pursue it on your own. This means beginning with a list of what you want to learn and why you want to learn it. You need to understand that learning, though can help advance your career, is not limited to your professional growth.
Step 2: Choose a Specific Area of Study
Narrowing down your options can help you focus your energy on one field instead of on multiple areas of study. This way, you can set your priorities straight and master the skills in one topic before moving to the next. Multi-tasking can be an excellent skill to have, but with learning, you have to take your time and focus to comprehend the concepts quicker.
Choosing a specific area of study can also help you as you progress further into your career because you can directly apply what you’re learning to your day-to-day. For instance, if you’re in the field of media and communication, then learning about how people communicate in the digital age should help you interact with your target audiences better.
Step 3: Find a Comprehensive Training Program for It
Educational institutions such as SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) allow students to pursue lifelong learning while working a full-time job. Through SSG courses, Singaporeans can learn new skills and receive training relevant to their respective industries.
By honing your skills through a comprehensive training program, you can improve your existing skill sets and gain new ones without sacrificing your ability to earn a living. This means that you can take advantage of more employment opportunities in the future and continue learning simultaneously.
Step 4: Continuously Hone Your Skill Sets
People believed Malcolm Gladwell when he said that “to master a certain skill, they would have to spend at least 10,000 hours doing it.” While many have come and gone to debunk this theory of deliberate practice to master a certain skill, it can’t be denied that there is still some truth to the concept.
This is because practicing a specific skill for that many hours will lead to more exposure and training. If you were to spend 10,000 hours or more to hone a skill and actually apply it in your day-to-day, you’d be able to get more experience in that field. So the practice may not be the only defining factor of mastering a skill, but it’s still essential.
Step 5: Commit to the Promise of Lifelong Learning
From the name itself, you can gather that this form of education is supposed to be done throughout your life. There is no standardized definition for lifelong learning. Still, it can be considered one as long as the education is being received from outside the walls of formal institutions, like schools or universities.
Committing yourself to lifelong learning can be overwhelming at first, especially if you realize that you’d have to keep learning for as long as you’re alive. But it may be easier to digest once you understand that learning is not limited to formal education; it can be informal, interesting, and enjoyable, so long as it allows you to grow more holistically.
Step 6: Repeat the Five Steps Over and Over
Once you’ve nailed all the five steps down to a tee, all that’s left to do is to repeat the entire process from the beginning. After all, lifelong learning is a continuous cycle. When you feel like you’ve mastered one skill enough and are ready to start learning another, what you can do is go back to step one.
Starting over and over doesn’t mean that you’re beginning from scratch every single time. If anything, you’re simply allowing yourself to follow the never-ending pursuit of knowledge and gaining valuable skills along the way. All these skills and training that you’ve acquired can help you become a better version of yourself in the end.
From an outsider’s perspective, lifelong learning may seem like an exhausting path to take because you’ll be repeatedly subjecting yourself to the pressures of education. Although learning can be mentally taxing at times, it can also be the very thing that keeps your mind sharp and focused. So really, it’s all just a matter of perspective and where your priorities lie.