20 DEC, 2020
What do you think is your most valuable possession? You may think it is your house, laptop, or job, but that’s not the right answer. Your most valuable possession has enabled you to read this text, and without it, you would not be anywhere in the world today. Your most valuable possession is your ability to learn. Without the ability to learn, you wouldn’t know how to spell things, do things, and understand things. Everything you have been able to do till now is based on learning; everything you’ll do in the future will also be based on learning.
Your ability to learn is your lifeline because all the skills, knowledge, and habits you acquire are possible only by learning something. We all go through school and college and spend many years learning new skills and understanding how to improve our lives. But after that, we stop learning. Many of us think that our learning is limited to school and college, but it isn’t. There are a lot of things for us to learn throughout our lives.
Bill Gates said, “If you are born poor it’s not your mistake. But if you die poor it’s your mistake.” This line goes so well with the concept of lifelong learning. Many people don’t have access to knowledge and education when they are young, maybe because they were born in low-income families. That is not their fault. But if they do not learn from their experiences and don’t try to improve themselves, then that is their fault.
Learning does not necessarily require you to go to school or college because there we learn the basic skills, but life lessons and crucial pieces of knowledge often come from our experiences. Everyone can’t have a degree or graduation in every possible study on this planet; then how can people say they have learned enough?
When we prove ourselves to society by getting a degree or landing a job, we develop a sense of social identity that makes us feel a part of our community. With this identity comes a reputation, and with the reputation comes ego. The most straightforward fact is that not everyone can know everything, and it is logical for us to ask and learn more about something we don’t know. We need to be open about the things we don’t know to learn more and more, but we don’t do that. Inside our chirpy little head, we know that we are not aware of something, but asking for guidance in front of other people seems to be a threat to our reputation and ego. We feel that our reputation will be damaged when people find out that we don’t know something.
We fear to lose this reputation because we often base our identity on it, and that’s where ego comes from. One of the essential traits for success in life is to learn about new things and apply them, but to protect this little bubble of reputation and identity, we shut the doors to learning and become our own barriers to learning new things.
That’s why Bill Gates’ quote matches entirely with the idea of learning: If you don’t have access to education, that is not your fault. But if you fail to learn and grow on your own throughout your life, it is your fault.
So, how do you overcome this self-made barrier and continue to learn throughout your life? Because that’s how you will achieve success, right? Well, the answer lies below:
- Drop Your Ego. The first thing you need to do to become a lifelong learner is to drop your ego. Yes, this is one of the most crucial aspects of becoming a lifelong learner because without removing the barriers from your route, you will not move ahead. Before setting foot on the accelerator, you need to make sure that you have removed any visible obstacles. Let’s say that you are driving on the road, and you see a closure ahead. Would you continue to drive? No, right? If you want to go on the road to success, you need to remove this closure by accepting that you need to drop your reputation-based identity and learn new things. How do you do that? By self-questioning. When you feel like you need to know something but are hesitating, ask yourself, “Is my reputation in the eyes of my close ones more important than my learning and ambition?” The answer would be that your learning and ambition are more important, and then you won’t be too worried about your ego or image in the eyes of others.
- Reason and shift your perspective. When you feel hesitant to take action and open up about your lack of knowledge in something, you are merely trying to maintain the social status you might have. In the last point, we learned that dropping your ego is the most important step because removing the barrier is a must. But what’s the use of it when you don’t drive through the now empty road? There is no use. However, to drive to success, you need fuel in your car, and by changing your thinking and perspective, you are adding the necessary fuel to your car of success, and then no one will be able to stop you from learning new things and achieving success. When you try to think about your priorities as described in the previous point, you will feel that your ambition is more important. However, you might still feel hesitant because you think the same old way by giving importance to reputation. Dr. Wayne Dyer said, “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” That’s what you need to do with the way you think about the image others have of you. You need to change your perspective and think rationally. Do you believe that the way someone else feels about you can change the way you live your life? Take this example: You want to get a promotion and rise through the ranks, but for that, you need to learn about leadership. Your colleagues think that you are a well-educated person because you have multiple graduations in sales. Now you decide to take a class on leadership. You worry that your colleagues will ridicule you for taking a class when you are such a highly educated person. Do you think your worry is valid? Will your colleagues’ perception of you change the way you learn about leadership? Will your colleagues’ opinion change the promotion you get? Will your colleagues’ opinion change you? The answer to all of that is no. Therefore, if you drop your ego, stop worrying about the way people think of you, and decide to focus on your learning instead, you will realize that other people’s perceptions are just opinions. Those opinions don’t have to be your reality.
- Take Action. You have done all the preparation for becoming a lifelong learner by dropping your ego and changing your thinking to remove the barriers and refuel the car. Now is the time to take action, set foot on the accelerator, and look for the right people and systems to help you learn what you want to learn and help you achieve what you want to achieve. When you change your thinking and take action to learn, you truly become a lifelong learner! So take the right steps and learn your way to success!
I hope that this blog post was an excellent read for you and that you gained many new insights from it! Your action of reading this post indicates that you are a lifelong learner, and that’s awesome! I would love to know more about your learning from this post, and you can share it by commenting down below! I will wait for your feedback!
If you would like to learn more about how you can rediscover yourself and find your way to a successful, happy and prosperous life, then do check out my book, “Explore The New YOU” on Amazon by clicking here!
Partnering in your success and growth,