How to Keep Learning for Life

I recently spent three days learning about land use planning issues in San Jose, California.Little Girl in Classroom

I just realized that for most people that probably sounds like a little slice of hell.

I get it. You may be right.

But I actually enjoyed it. I know, crazy, huh? Call me a glutton for punishment.

But I’m not bringing this up to explain how dorky I am. I bring this up for a more important reason.

I think it’s important to recognize that we can all improve what we know.

Learning is a lifelong process. It doesn’t end at graduation from high school, college, or grad school.

Too often, we don’t acknowledge what it is we don’t know. Too often, we take off our graduation robes and don’t ever step back into a learning environment.

We read People Magazine or Sports Illustrated or zone out on reality TV.

Many professions, including my own, require ongoing education.

That usually means you have to attend a dozen or so hours of seminars and conferences over the course of a year or two. It’s often not difficult to meet the requirement.

Many other professions don’t require any continuing education. But that doesn’t mean if your line of work doesn’t require ongoing education, you have to pass it by.

It’s easier than ever to keep on enriching yourself.

You can download podcasts from iTunes of major university professors teaching various courses. For example, you can download freshman Organic Chemistry 2 taught at Yale, or you can watch Professor Joseph Blitzstein teach Statistics 110 at Harvard.

You can watch amazing and inspiring short video speeches put on by TED Talks at

You can seek out blogs that are narrowly focused on a particular interest you hold, and you can educate yourself further on that topic.  (If your particular passion is underwater basket weaving, guess what? There’s a blog for you.)

If you aren’t self-motivated, then try signing up for a local community college course or a university extension class. It won’t be free, but that may be a good thing. You will probably be more motivated to show up each week if you have some skin in the game.

The hardest part is getting started, and continuing to do it amidst the daily demands of life.

What are you doing to continue to educate yourself?

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Photo credit: Microsoft online




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