There have been lots of lessons learned as the result of living through a global pandemic but, for many of us, the importance of being a lifelong learner has never been more apparent. Whether we have needed to get to grips with new technology in order to stay in touch with loved ones, embraced a new hobby in an attempt to battle the boredom or been forced to gain the expertise allowing us to make a shift in our career in order to survive, most of us have had to make a change and adapt to the situation we have found ourselves in. With this in mind, there has never been a better time to reflect upon what an effective learner looks like today and the ways we might be able to modify some of our beliefs or behaviours in order to become a better one.
Ultimately, what we are looking to achieve in our own lives is always going to be personal and unique. There is no one-size-fits-all route to a chosen career or towards a certain lifestyle. Therefore, any learning we need to do in order to achieve our goals must also be personal. By becoming more reflective we are able to identify what it is we need to learn in order to meet our aims and the steps we might have to take in order to do so. As the world opens up once more, take a moment to consider what you really want to achieve.
Many people believe that learning is all about finding out the answers in order to gain expertise. However, you can only ensure that you have all the answers if you are the person who has all the questions. By continually questioning the world around us – particularly as it shifts and changes – we can be certain that our knowledge and understanding is never out of date.
We are what we repeatedly do, and therefore our habits are key to our success. By identifying and putting into place routines that focus on the results we are looking to achieve, we can make progress.
Additionally, whether setting a schedule that clearly defines breaks from learning, or ensuring there is a balance of screen time and that spent outdoors, recognising ways to ensure that our hard work can be maintained over time will make sure our progress will be too.
It is useful to think of any learning as a process of change – of moving from one state to another -and any change requires us to step outside our comfort zones and take some risks. With this obviously comes the potential to fail. However, if we are able to accept these failures as part of the learning experience, rather than the end result, then the risks we are prepared to take can be greater and, in turn, so can the results. In a world of uncertainty, we must believe anything is possible.