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The only man who is really free is the one who can turn down an invitation to dinner without giving an excuse.
-- Jules Renard


The MONTHLY Motivator - October 2005

A Lifetime of Learning

We learn facts, we learn how to study, we learn how to take tests, we learn how to perform tasks, we learn what to say, we learn how to act, we learn what to think, we learn reactions, we learn emotions, we learn to dance, we learn to teach. Or at least we attempt to learn these things. One thing that is rarely taught us is how to learn. So let’s take a look at learning, and at how you can enhance the learning in your own life.

Life is about learning. To move forward, a person must be committed to constant learning. Your ability to learn brings an abundance of wonderful things. Learning can prevent you from repeating past mistakes. It allows you to improve your performance over time. It enables you to benefit from the experience of countless others. Learning is one of the most valuable ways you can spend your time.

When you hear the word learning you probably think of school, books, teachers and tests. Yet only a fraction of learning takes place in school. You were learning long before you ever set foot in school, and it is vital that you continue learning all your life.

The world is changing so quickly that anyone who is not committed to continual learning will be left behind. Learning is an essential ingredient for success in today’s information-driven world. The good news is that learning is available to anyone. You don’t need to have a college degree hanging on your wall to be able to learn.

Everything is a learning experience. Learning gives a positive aspect to everything that happens. Even when you lose, you win by learning from the experience. So learning is a key strategy for living positively on a continuing basis.

Learning is a wonderful way to leverage your time and effort. The things you learn stay with you always. No person, no circumstance can take them away from you. Knowledge has real value, and there is no danger of anyone stealing that value away from you. In fact, the more you share it with others the more valuable it becomes to you.

A key strategy for learning is to appreciate the value of learning. Unfortunately, learning can too often be forced on you by your own decisions or by other people, rendering the effort largely ineffective. Yet learning can be a natural, enjoyable, productive activity when you approach it with the right attitude.

It’s vitally important that you find a reason to learn. If you can develop a strong enough reason why you want to learn, you’ll find a way to learn whatever you need to know. Each day is filled with opportunities to learn. When you are motivated to learn, all sorts of teachers appear at every turn. The main reason people do not learn is that they don’t avail themselves of all the opportunities. When you understand why you need to learn something, when the desire is strong enough and personally meaningful, you will learn. Think of the goals you have set for yourself. In order to achieve these goals, you’ll need to learn many new things. Make a meaningful connection in your mind between the things you want to achieve and the things you’ll need to learn in order to achieve them. Find within yourself a personally compelling reason to learn.

Admit your ignorance. In order to learn something, you must first admit that you do not know it. This may seem obvious, yet there are many things we avoid learning because we’re afraid that asking questions will make us look foolish. But there is no shame in ignorance. You’re not born with a wealth of knowledge. To learn, you must ask. Pretending to know something that you don’t will make you look much more foolish than sincerely and honestly asking questions. If there’s something you don’t know, admit it. Then you can proceed to learn it.

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--Ralph Marston

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