The concept of “lifelong learning” was introduced a number of decades ago. The “futurists” of the time were predicting that the rate of change would accelerate. Thus, an education that was received at 20 may well eventually become obsolete in one’s lifetime and a need for further learning would become necessary.
Beloit College in Wisconsin creates a sociology study for professors each year to keep them in touch with the mindset of incoming students.
For this year’s incoming college students, most born in 1994:
- Kurt Cobain, Jackie Kennedy Onassis and Richard Nixon have always been dead.
- Bill Clinton has been out of office.
- Cyberspace has always been here.
- They get their television off the computer more often than they get it off the television.
- They have never seen an “airplane ticket.”
- For most of their life, the Secretary of State has been a woman.
- Luggage rolls instead of being carried.
- Their music comes from iPods and MP3 players. They don’t use a radio.
You get the point. Things change fast. Faster than anyone imagined.
So, what’s your plan for lifelong learning?
Here are three ideas I gleaned from writer Mitch Albom:
- Read. With each year, adults read less. Those who read have an advantage over those who don’t. It helps their creativity. It expands their knowledge base. It keeps their mind sharp.
- Study something. We can always be learning something at a greater detail. Trying to learn something for the purpose of becoming an expert helps keep you current.
- Try something new. I write this all the time. Don’t do it as much as I should. There is virtue in breaking a habit and going in a different direction. Cook healthy instead of eating convenient fast food. Try a new exercise program. Learn about a new skill at work. Dig into the software program you use at work and see if there are more tricks you can learn.
The world is coming at you and passing at a rapid rate. It will not slow down.
Get active. Read. Study. Experiment.