Ideas for Lifelong Learning

Resources to Inspire Your Learning Journey

Karen had a long career yet ahead of her and decades to work before she could retire at age 65. She hoped to stay in her current position as a paralegal supporting an in-house legal team for a commercial real estate company until she retired. On the day she was told that a new enterprise-wide software program was about to be implemented, she put her head on her desk and moaned, “Oh no, you mean I have to learn something new?”

 

Karen was not a lifelong learner. She had what Carol S. Dweck would call a “fixed mindset.” According to Dweck, Ph.D. and the Lewis and Virginia Eaton Professor of Psychology at Stanford University, there are two primary mindsets about learning, a fixed mindset and a growth mindset. In her book, Mindset, Dweck explains how some people have a fixed idea about what they are capable of learning, while those with a growth mindset believe they can continue to learn well beyond the completion of formal education.

 

The first resource to cultivate for lifelong learning is a growth mindset. Traits such as curiosity, a passion for a specific topic or skill, and a willingness to focus until that skill is mastered are the next ingredients.

 

To ensure that a fixed mindset isn’t holding you back, try a new or different approach to learning. For instance, think outside of a traditional classroom setting that relies on a lecture format. Expand into topics that are new to you that will broaden your perspective, or challenge your current thinking.
Resources for Lifelong JourneySome examples include:
  • Try a Nia class. It’s a mix of martial arts, dance, and yoga, and will challenge you mentally and physically.
  • Take your team or a group out for an Escape Room Party. Physical and mental clues and puzzles will challenge your team as you attempt to “escape” a room.
  • Read a biography on someone who is an accomplished leader in your chosen field. What obstacles and barriers did they face, and how did they persist through difficult times? What inspiration and lessons can you take from their life story?
  • Take an Improv class. Here again, you will use mind and body to experiment with creative thinking and get out of your comfort zone.
  • Join a Book Club, but in a new literary genre, so you can expand your thinking.
  • Listen to an Audio Book during your commute, but make it in a field that is outside your current scope of expertise.
  • Travel to a place that’s at the end of your bucket list to experience the unexpected.
  • Don’t be like Karen. Instead, try one or more of these ideas to freshen up your approach to learning.
  • Last week, I cited a quote by Steve Jobs, “Stay hungry. Stay foolish.” I like the second part, stay foolish, since it implies childlike wonder and a willingness to look silly while trying new things. Staying hungry is just one avenue to keep your growth mindset alive.

 

Here’s to your success in 2018!

 

Kathleen Winsor-Games