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  • Writer's pictureLalita Dileep

The Quest for Life Long Learning

An ode to always being curious, inquisitive, and open-minded

Learning Advocate

As Plutarch, the Greek philosopher is quoted, “The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled." Waking up the mind goes beyond formal education, text books and the boundaries of schools and colleges. It embodies the thirst for knowledge, the curiosity for how and why things work the way they do, the innate nosiness to figure out stuff, always being receptive to new ideas, solutions and failures along the way.

Age cannot be handicap on this journey of lifelong learning. Being open minded is crucial. The eagerness to soaking up information, morsels of data and correlating all in an exquisite mix to enhance one’s personal and professional life. Being truly fascinated, excited by the process and reveling in the ideas – that is the embodiment of a true lifelong learning advocate.

Curiosity, Skill & Mastery

Albert Einstein is often credited with saying, "I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious." Inquisitiveness is vital. The initial spark that sets things in motion, keeping the mind alive and the gears clicking. The doorway to information is opened by the key of curiosity. With facts at our fingertips we can become more empowered, extremely focused, extra productive and tremendously motivated to continue onwards. Accumulating expertise, learning things of value and being genuinely interested in stuff is a wonderful trait that can enrich our lives. Once we are vested in this process, research indicates it leads to a higher level of confidence, increased motivation, positive emotion and reduced levels of anxiety.

Mahatma Gandhi said, “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”

Enquiring minds display the willingness to learn, seek out answers, inspired in the exercise to gain clarity. This is accompanied closely with an ability to listen. Pay attention allows us to absorb quickly, even as we read, study and ingest information from multiple sources honing our skills. Our muscle memory increases, constantly improving and expanding as we widen our skillset. But the bedrock is the commitment to be lifelong learners. To challenge ourselves constantly to expand, educate and engage our minds, in our personal and professional lives by constantly pushing our boundaries.

Personal affirmations

Henry Ford said, “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at 20 or 80. Anyone who keeps learning stays young”. This is immensely significant. To stay relevant, young and connected, the pursuit of excellence is the North Star. Continuous engagement keeps one ageless, capable of communicating across a cross section of community with assurance. Continuing education is easier than ever before. With zoom, interactive options and choices of apps, all one needs is the will, an internet connection and some keystrokes. Whether it is finding a new passion, hobby or a career goal, the opportunities abound. Research indicates that learning preserves our brain cells, keeping them working at optimum level, slowing down the progression of cognitive decline.

In today’s world of fluid career dynamics, remaining germane is even more important. Says Dr. Kris Rabberman, Deputy Vice Dean, Director of Academic Affairs University of Pennsylvania, on this topic,” lifelong learning is now seen as essential for individuals, organizations, and nations to stay competitive. "There is a growing sense now that people will need to have access to education throughout their lives, not just for one or two predetermined periods,” she observes.

It follows that it is more empowering to take ownership of our own professional and personal development and making lifelong learning a priority. Being cognizant of what resonates with our interests and keeping our goals aligned with it, will keep us both relevant, self - challenged and validated. From time to time, we probably have to readjust and adopt new strategies, but that is as much a process of self-discovery as it of self- development. Do you agree with these sentiments? Are you piqued at the thought of being a lifelong learner? I confess I am. Let us commit to inquire, create, discover and never stop evolving as individuals.

We are stronger together


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